Northern Elders’ Forum on Sunday night opened up on the rationale behind the consultative dialogue convened by former President Olusegun Obasanjo with regional sociocultural groups.
Its Director of Advocacy and Engagement, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said they participated in the dialogue to address the challenges bedeviling the country.
- Afenifere skeptical about fresh constitution review
- Why Northern Elders told Buhari the truth – Hakeem Baba-Ahmed
At the instance of Obasanjo, leaders of Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders’ Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Pan Niger Delta Forum met at a two-day consultative dialogue held in Abuja.
It was at the meeting that Obasanjo reechoed his position that the country was fast drifting into a failed and badly divided state under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Though the meeting was held behind closed doors, the statement of Obasanjo was leaked a day after the meeting.
A source at the consultative dialogue said three serving governors attended the meeting, including Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti State), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi State) and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (Sokoto State).
“It was not a secret conclave as being speculated. We met and released our communique to the public,” the source said, pleading not to be named.
The source said former president Obasanjo had intimated the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, before the dialogue was held.
“Gambari promised to inform the President about it. Fayemi also promised at the meeting that he would inform President Buhari about the dialogue,” the source added.
In a phone interview, Baba-Ahmed lamented that Nigerians were focusing on Obasanjo’s statement and not the communique issued at the end of the meeting.
“Like I said, many things transpired.
“There were a lot of things about the state of the nation. Every group expressed serious reservations and concerns about the state of the country, and we all committed ourselves to see all that we can do to pull out the country from the brink.
“We had problems with each other, we had the same problems in the past, but we agreed to rediscover the resolve to work for Nigeria and offer the groups’ services and the meeting ended on a very positive note.”