The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) on Monday said the weakness and ineffectiveness of President Buhari-led administration was aggravating various threats in all strata of the country.
The forum also alleged that political actors, who have political ambitions in 2023 are threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria by attacking “the foundations of our co-existence through acts that provoke, frighten or otherwise cast doubts.”
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In a statement by its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the forum wondered why that the only voices being heard are those that demand the balkanization of the country, or encourage dangerous politics and other acts that pitch some communities against others.
“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 capitalize 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.
“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.
“These groups’ activities suggest that they perceive a vacuum which provides a perfect setting for questioning the legitimacy of the Nigerian State, its ability to fight against subversion and other acts of hostility and its commitment to uphold the rule of law.
“The only voices being heard are those which demand the balkanization of the country, or encourage dangerous politics and other acts that pitch some communities against others,” the statement read.
Derides politics of calumny
Baba-Ahmed described as “disturbing”, 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.
He added, “The Forum recognizes the historic opportunity for leaders, elders and other Nigerians who believe in acting responsibly to step up now and retrieve the country from imminent disaster. The Forum restates its commitment to sit and discuss all the challenges facing the country with responsible groups and leaders.
“It understands that 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.
“People who believe they can intimidate or threaten the North into submitting to their demands are grossly mistaken. The North also wants a Nigeria which addresses at least a minimum of its requirements, and these are many.
Like all other Nigerians, it believes this country must meet particular and general interests, and no group’s interest is superior to the others.
“There is a long way to go before 2023. Our democratic process must not be made the hostage to dangerous and short-sighted politics.”