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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Northern Elders Slam Southern Governors over Asaba Declarations  

Northern Elders Slam Southern Governors over Asaba Declarations  

The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) on Tuesday disagreed with the stance of southern Nigerian governors on some national issue, including the bannig of open grazing of cows in their domains.

NEF said the southern Nigerian governors are empowering secessionists and building “ethnic monsters” in a way that might divide Nigeria.

Spokesman of NEF, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, issued a statement on Tuesday, a copy of which Nigerian Sketch obtained, saying the governors were supporting regional agitators against the people of northern extraction living in the south.

NEF’s statement was obviously a response to the May 11 resolutions of the southern Nigerian governors, which they termed the ‘Asaba Declarations’.

Baba-Ahmed, said in his statement that “It is now clear that elected people sworn to protect the constitution and protect the unity and integrity of Nigeria have decided to surrender to deeply divisive or outrightly irredentist and secessionist tendencies and movements.

“Governors are building ethnic monsters and hiding behind them to whip up sentiments in a crude attempt to extract concessions no one is in a position to give or guarantee.

“A desperate but futile attempt is being made to split the North along lines that suit people who ignore its complexities and plurality when it is convenient to lump all northerners and submit them to humiliation or attacks,” he said.

“In the South-East, governors are yielding their political turf and mandates to secessionists, criminals and subversives who think they can exterminate federal presence and Northerners from the region and achieve dubious political goals related to 2023, or break away from the country.

“In the South-West, elected leaders and pampered ethnic bullies are closing ranks to provide a front that apes the the do-what-we-want-or-we-leave-the-country strategy of the marginalised leaders of the South-East.

“The South-South is squeezed between fear and uncertainty and its leaders are gambling that they can benefit from further weakening the federal administration and the North if it rides along with the rest of the South.

“The forum supports a citizen-driven national dialogue and a campaign to get the government to accord its outcome the respect it deserves.

“The forum extends its hands to groups that genuinely believe that Nigerians should demand and design the type of country we want and should not wait for people we elected to set the boundaries and conditions of our existence.

“The forum restates that the North will not be cowed and stampeded into escorting political ambitions of politicians at the cost of its rights, security and dignity,” the statement said.

The attorney-general of the federation who is also the minister for justice, Abubakar Malami as well as the presidency have also variously faulted the resolutions of the southern governors.


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