Northern elders: Politicians capitalising on govt’s weakness to threaten Nigeria’s unity

Northern elders: Politicians capitalising on govt’s weakness to threaten Nigeria’s unity

The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) says some “political adventurers” are capitalising on the weakness of elected officials by threatening the unity of the country.

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Different groups from the south and the north have been issuing threats, calling for the eviction of citizens from some parts of the country.

Some of the threats have resulted from the farmer-herder crisis that has spread across the regions.

In a statement on Monday, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF’s spokesperson, said such threats have become popular because the government has not shown much will to address the situation.

“It is no exaggeration to say that our country has never been so threatened by a combination of weak and ineffective governance and a determined effort from many quarters to capitalise on this weakness to attack the foundations which give all citizens and communities some comfort that we are not headed for almost certain, irretrievable disaster,” he said.

“It appears that many groups and persons who have public standing, political adventurers and upstarts believe that it is open season to intensify attacks on the foundations of our co-existence through acts that provoke, frighten or otherwise cast doubts over the capacities of those who have sworn to protect the nation and citizens.

“The continuous silence from responsible Nigerians and the capitulation of hitherto influential groups to politics of the gutter is creating a dangerous space which further erodes the chances that a rational approach to the triggers to these provocations can be found.

“Many of the provocations and threats are directly related to maneuvers for 2023, as well as attempts to hurt and weaken the North by making it the culprit behind all manner of grievances, real or contrived.”

He said people who believe they can intimidate the north into submitting to their demands are grossly mistaken.

Like all other Nigerians, he said the north believes the country must meet general interests, as no group is superior to others.

He noted that there is a long way to go before the 2023 elections, and the democratic process must not be made the “hostage to dangerous and shortsighted politics”.

“There are politicians who think weakening the country is their best guarantee for achieving their goals,” he said.

“Groups which are floating irredentist agendas to blackmail others do not impress the north. It is vital that elected leaders find the will to reduce the damage of opportunistic politicians.

“If, as it clearly appears to be the case, they cannot do this, citizens with the capacity to influence opinion and chart a course towards a safer country for all citizens should get involved.”

He restated the commitment of the forum to dialogue with responsible groups and leaders.