From Fred Itua, Abuja
Northern Elders Forum (NEF),yesterday, accused South West governors of building ethnic monsters. The forum said leaders from the region are pampering the monsters and hiding under them to blackmail the Federal Government into achieving their ambition in 2023.
The elders also described the posture of South East leaders in taming the growing insecurity in the region as unacceptable. They alleged the governors were yielding their political turf and mandates to secessionists, criminals and subversives.
Director of Publicity and Advocacy for the group, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, said Nigeria was sliding towards disaster and urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address the many divisive issues troubling the country.
“If our country is to survive its current difficulties and build a better nation, President Buhari must improve his levels of competence, awareness that the nation is sliding into disaster and sensitivity to the frustrations of Nigerians.Other political leaders who take advantage of the limitations of the President to light fires should know that they will get burnt in them.”
They further reinstated their earlier position, calling for a ban on open grazing, insisting that a permanent solution must be advanced by all parties, but warned against the alleged killing of Fulani herdsmen and northerners in the south.
Part of the statement read: “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. 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 do-what-we-want-or-we-leave-the-country strategy of the marginalised leaders of the South East. 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.
“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.
“A plastic unity is being contrived to create the impression that the entire south is united behind shared grievances against the Presidency and Fulani herders and all northerners who are cast as fair game in responding to all of President Buhari’s multiple failures.
“For the record, the forum restates its support for a programmed transition that will eliminate open grazing and the establishment of productive, safe and sustainable options in managing our huge national asset in animal husbandry. This cannot be achieved with threats and harassment, but with commitment and collaboration involving all governments and stakeholders.It is in everyone’s interests to support an urgent national initiative that will engineer a safe and productive transition to the end of open grazing.”