Yoruba socio-cultural organisation Afenifere Renewal Group (ARG), through its National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin, has said that a one-time Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and Chairman, Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi’s stance that the region will rule Nigeria for the next century if it so wishes is capable of breaking the country.
Abdullahi had said that the region would support only candidate from the North in the race for President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor in 2023, adding that zoning has no place or ground in the constitution of the country.
Odumakin in an exclusive interview with Sunday Telegraph said: “If they think they can do whatever they like in Nigeria, they are only deluding themselves. No one will take that from them. Ango Abdullahi and Junaid Muhammed want to break this country by their comments. But we are committed to the Unity of this country. What we are saying is that we should restructure Nigeria and let everybody hold on to his resources and develop according to his pace. But that somebody will be dictating to us from Abuja, we will not allow it.
“2023 is not our main concern. What we want is the restructuring of Nigeria and let each federating unit rule his own area and let us contribute to the centre. 2023, 2027, 2031, nothing good will come out if we do not restructure Nigeria.”
Speaking in the same vein,the Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, through its National Assistant Publicity Secretary, Mazi Chuks Ibegbu, described the Northern elder as an agent of hate speech, who, being at the twilight of his life, should be a good model to Northern youths instead of an agent of confusion.
Ibegbu said he was happy that Abdullahi was not speaking for the North, noting that there are fair-minded Northerners who are already rooting for the Igbo to produce the next president of Nigeria as a matter of justice and equity.
While deploring those trying to distract the present administrations at state and federal levels with the politics of 2023, which he said was still far away, he called on all the political parties to zone their presidential tickets to South East for the sake of fairness and equity.
He said: “Does Ango Abdullahi think he will live till next year? How can somebody play God? Is he God, does he know how long he will live on earth?
“Number two, he claims that the North has the population; he should stop saying that rubbish. There has not been any credible census in Nigeria to prove the population of any part of Nigeria, so all these assumptions are fake and bogus.
“Thirdly, I’m happy he is not speaking for the North because in the North, there are so many credible people and a few other Northerners have said that it is the turn of the Igbo. So, he is just self-acclaimed, he is not speaking for the North, he is speaking for himself, Ango Abdullahi.
“He is a merchant of hate speech, he is known for circulating, even at his age now, instead of being a role model for Northern youths, he is an agent of darkness. At his age instead of mentoring young people, he is causing confusion everywhere, making some provocative and disruptive statements.
“I believe he is not speaking the mind of Northerners, he is speaking his own, mind and people should discontinuance him.
“In the interest of justice and equity, I’m calling on all political parties to zone their presidency to South East when the time comes. But the time is so far off, I don’t know why people should be talking about 2023 when nobody is even sure of living the next day.
“They should not distract the present government and governors at all level with 2023 politics. When the time comes, equity and justice should be there.”
Also lending credence to it, the Movement for Actualisation of the State of Biafra (MASSOB) said the former university administrator is testing the waters to know how other sections of the country would react
“We know that Ango Abdullahi has suddenly become the systematic mouthpiece of the Fulani cabals as he would always disclose the true plot of the Fulani cabal and test the waters for them to know how Nigerians will react,” the group said.
In a statement signed by the MASSOB National Leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu, the group said: “If they must know, the current clamour across Nigeria for a president of Igbo extraction come 2023 has gained traction and the ugly scheming to scuttle the idea has commenced.
“And that is exactly why the services of the likes of Ango Abdullahi, who is always available for hire, have been procured to do a hatchet job. But he is swimming against the tide, only he does not know it yet.”
MASSOB, however, urged the Southern and Middle belt regions not to be distracted by the antics of Ango Abdullahi because he belongs to the class of Northern elders who contributed to the decades of impoverishment of the north.
He continued: “And the North knows this; which is why whenever Abdullahi is angling for power to the North, his people understand that he actually means power to enrich the few and impoverish the vast majority of Northerners presently living on the bread line.
“Ango Abdullahi and his kind should be apologising to the entire Northern Nigeria for the sad legacy of perpetual poverty bequeathed in the region in the midst of plenty.
“Nevertheless, Abdullahi’s statement represents the most grievous kind of hate speech, in a country that runs a democracy and constitutional governance. Whoever told him that he can denigrate regions of the country at will and always has his way, knows so little about the laws of nature and the human spirit.”
Madu noted, however, that though their non-violence quest for a sovereign state of Biafra remains unshakable, MASSOB will not stand against the clamour for a president of Igbo extraction in Nigeria.
“Even if the Igbo man becomes the president of Nigeria, it will not stop our agitation for Biafra,” he said.
One-time head, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Nigerian Army, Major-General Ishola Williams (rtd), commended the Ohanaeze Ndigbo for talking with others in order to make the Ndigbo presidency a reality in 2023.
“The onus of responsibility lies on the Igbos. The wise ones have seen the need to ensure that all political parties, big and small, have a quality Igbo man or woman as presidential candidates with a Middle Belter as VPs.
“In addition, it is good that Ohanaeze Ndigbo has started the process of doing this. The negotiations with ethnic groups must also continue.
“Their representatives, senators and governors must not pay lip service to true federalism with subsidiarity. I repeat subsidiarity.
“The Igbo in the Diaspora must start donating to a massive fund for the primaries and elections. They have the experts abroad in political strategic campaign etc. I for Igbo, G for governance B best, O for Orderly NIGERIA,” he said. (New Telegraph)