By Chinelo Obogo
South and Middle Belt Alliance (SaMBA) has said the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) is not speaking for the 19 northern states in faulting the Southern Governors Forum’s (SGF) demand that the presidency be zoned to the south.
Speaking on Arise TV Morning Show, spokesperson of SaMBA, Rwang Pam, refuted claim by NEF spokesman, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, that the north has the numerical strength to always determine who emerges president, saying the north he was referring to was not monolith, and that he lacked the capacity to speak for all northerners.
“Which north is NEF actually talking about? I don’t think what they want will work anymore; those days are gone.The north he is talking about is the North West, North East and North Central, but he is grossly mistaken. What he is trying to do is to set the country ablaze and break it apart and we are not with them. We are out to ensure that our policy makers do the right thing. We are out to ensure that there is fairness, justice and fair play. Our elders have not informed us that they have signed on to such an outrageous thing, NEF should produce the names of the elders that agreed to such a thing.”
Pam said he expected Minister of Information and Culture, Lia Muhammed, to come out and condemn NEF for airing such a view as it amounted to hate speech. He said the Middle Belt had quality people that could aspire for the presidency and that it was important for power to shift to the south in the interest of fairness and justice.
“This is a time when Nigeria should move forward and look for a way to keep the country together and somebody is saying that the south should not produce the President. Is Hakeem trying to say that these people who are agitating for secession can just go ahead and break up the country? Nigeria is made up of intelligent people who know their rights. We have a tense situation and someone is saying something else. In a nutshell he is trying to tell the country to break apart. I was expecting the Minister of Information to come out and classify the NEF’s statement as hate speech.”
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