South does not need the consent of the north to be president of Nigeria — Gani Adams, Chief Ayo Adebanjo
Elder-statesman and frontline Yoruba leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo and the Aare Onakankanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, have tackled the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on its plot to retain power beyond 2023.
Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the group, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, had insisted that North has the votes and would not play second fiddle to any other part of Nigeria.
The Arewa group said it had no apologies for rejecting the demands of the Southern Governors Forum that the 2023 presidency be zoned to the South.
Speaking on Arise TV Morning Show, Ahmed, who was responding to the backlash by prominent southerners and groups said no one has the constitutional right to compel any part of the country on how to vote and that if northerners chose to elect a northern president in a free and fair election, people should have to live with it.
“The approach of the southern governors and some organised groups in the south in speaking from both sides of the mouth is wrong. Even as we speak, certain southern governors who are saying we must do this or that are secretly negotiating and jostling for positions for themselves for 2023. They know all the options that are available and are actively involved in this. They know the politicians from the northern part of the country including their colleagues but they come out and create a bipartisan fallacy and start making demands that they know are inconsistent with the democratic process. This should stop because it is not helping. What we are saying is to allow a democratic process to determine who will become our president and we should ensure that we pick someone better than President Buhari,” he said.
Reacting to Chief Edwin Clark who faulted the claim that the population of the north is an advantage, Hakeem said: “For people like Chief Adebanjo and sometimes, Chief Clark to say things like, ‘if you don’t do this, there would be no elections in 2023’, (they) have no control over what happens in 2023. These kind of statements are what cause tension in the country.
“With due respect, there are many elderly people like Chief Clark and Chief Adebanjo who speak in a language which elders should not be speaking. They have no business leading groups. These are people who create more problems for politicians and politicians become hostages of rhetorics that people have.”
However, Adebanjo, in his reaction said: “I agree with him that we are not patriots because we don’t agree to the subjugation of the South to the Fulani in the North. If that is why we are not patriots, we agree. On the issue of power shift, what he said about retaining power in the North is part of the arrogance of their leaders, who want Nigeria to remain one, but on the condition that they have the rulers. It will not work. We had discussed that with his forefathers; so, we are not going to argue that with him again. If that is why we are not patriots, we are not going to agree on that. We knew we wouldn’t need their agreement before we said that we are not going to have presidency in the North in 2023. That is why we are insisting on changing of the constitution, which they gave to us through the military in 1966. And until that one is done, there can be no peace in this country. We are not going to stay in Nigeria where they will be the rider and we will be the horse. I don’t want to go into any argument with him. When did he come into existence? We’ve had these arguments with his forefathers. We don’t need to argue that again.”
In his reaction, Adams said other regions of the country were fully aware of the antic of the North to continue to dominate them and were ready to turn the table around.
The Yoruba generalissimo who spoke at Ibeju, Lagos during the maiden edition of Egbe Festival organized by the Olokun Festival Foundation (OFF), lambasted said NEF’s statement only exposed the domineering agenda of the north and was capable of setting the nation on fire.
He held that Nigeria was not property of any region and any attempt by the North to force its domineering agenda on others would be resisted.
This is Igbo youths under the aegis of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, (COSEYL) warned that the South East would produce its own president if that happens.
Ahmed, while speaking at the maiden Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series organized by the students wing of Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, said anyone who did not want a northerner as president in 2023 can leave the country.
However, in a statement by it president general, Goodluck Ibem, the group described the utterance by the northern statesman as unfortunate and disapointing.
“It was the support of the south that made President Buhari to win his elections in 2015 and 2019. We are very surprised that Hakeem has suddenly forgotten so soon how President Buhari emerged as president. History doesn’t lie, he should go back to history to refresh his memory. We, as the youth leaders of South East geopolitical zone, stand by the decision of the southern governors that the office of the Nigerian president be zoned to the South for equity and justice. Enough said,” Ibem stated.
Mr. Aminu Malle, the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase, has thanked northern members of the House for protecting and promoting the interest of the North in the recently passed Petroleum Industry Bill and the Electoral Act.
The congratulatory message was sent on behalf of Wase by Malle to the northern caucus through their WhatsApp group and leaked to The PUNCH by one of the members.
In the recently passed PIB, northern Nigeria’s quest for oil received a huge boost as Section 9 of the bill states that at least 30 per cent of the profit generated by the proposed Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited will go to the exploration of oil in ‘frontier basins,’ which are mostly northern states.
However, the demand by oil producing communities in the South for five per cent of the profit of oil firms was cut down to three per cent
For the Electoral Act, northern Reps also kicked against the compulsory electronic transmission of results by the Independent National Electoral Commission, arguing that many northern states have weak Internet penetration.
Experts argue that electronic transmission of results would reduce incidents of rigging.
In the message circulated by Wase’s chief of staff, the northern lawmakers were praised for protecting the interest of the North and showing unity.
The message reads, “On behalf of the Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase and the Northern Caucus leader Hon. Musa Sarki Adar, I am directed to write and formally congratulate and appreciate all the northern caucuses for standing firm through their wisdom and strength to ensure the Northern interest in both PIB and Electoral Act is adequately placed in a position of advantage.
“There is no doubt a house united will forever get whatever it wants, giving [sic] the advantage we have in size. May God Almighty continue to unite and bind us stronger. May He bless and reward us all abundantly. Remain blessed and wish you the best holidays and Sallah celebrations. Thank you all.”
The 17 southern governors had, last week, insisted that the electronic transmission of results must stand and had kicked against the allocation of 30 per cent of NNPC’s profits to oil exploration.
Attempts to speak with Malle proved abortive as he neither responded to repeated calls nor a text message on Saturday.
However, the spokesman for the Deputy Speaker, Umar Puma, distanced his principal from the message.
“I have received calls on this letter. It was not written by the Deputy Speaker,” Puma said. (Punch)
In a recent interview with the Edo state Deputy Governor Comrade Philip Shuaibu, he revealed that the 17 Southern States are ready to leave the Nigeria Union if their request that the presidency should be zoned to the South is not agreed to by the Northern elites.
He explained that the only thing the North has to offer Nigeria is their unproductive population which they use to intimidate the South, while the resources of the country are domiciled in Southern Nigeria.
“They should go with their population while we go with our resources.”
We will ask our ppl in the armed forces to relocate back home and leave their desert for them.
The Middlebelt peoples can join us if they wish to, they have good agricultural lands that can supply enough food to our new country.
Ask if he was not afraid of being persecuted by the Buhari regime he declared that “no one can arrest me as a sitting deputy Governor, I have immunity. I have been in the struggle for freedom my entire adult life.”
•Constitution review, a waste of time and resources
National President of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr. Pogu Bitrus, has said that the Middle Belt will no more allow the core North to use her as cannon fodder. Speaking with VINCENT KALU in an interview, Dr. Pogu stressed that the constitution review embarked by the National Assembly is a waste of resources and would go the same way as the previous ones.
Nigeria is passing through challenging times; insecurity pervades everywhere, what gave rise to this?
The insecurity to a large extent can be attributed to nepotism by the government. President Buhari needs to address some of these imbalances created by his government. This issue of restructuring and return to true federalism is not going down well for those who are dominating and benefiting from the present system. All these are heating up the system. If things were running normally, the outcry wouldn’t be this loud.
You have identified the problems, what are the solutions?
The simple way is for this government to do things right. Secondly, this government should start the process of restructuring. They claimed not to understand what it is all about, and they say people are confused. People are not confused. What we are saying is that if Nigeria is a federation, let us practice true federalism. The whole process can start and evolve to a desired level. We cannot just say today, fiscal federalism has to be implemented, but we can start somewhere. If we are going to practise true federalism, one of its aspects is fiscal federalism, where federating units control their resources and pay royalty to the centre. So, how do we develop those who lack capacity to get to that level? I think that is what we should start, but unfortunately, our leaders don’t see it that way. They think if we go to true federalism, monies will not come to them. We can start a process that will take us to the Promised Land with the desired period. All these things can be achieved. If today, the president says look, this restructuring you people are talking about, which the bottom line is true federalism, let’s sit and discuss how we move to it without hurting anybody, so that the federating units will all be accommodated without problem, I can tell you by tomorrow things will start working. The electoral system we have now is fraudulent, corrupt and allows some people who have not been voted to use their muscles to stay in office or assume victory. So, let’s go to electronic voting; let there be electronic transfer of accreditation and transfer of results, it would douse tension. Even if the government does this now, I can tell you it will douse a lot of tension. And then the next thing, which is insecurity that is troubling everybody will be tackled head on, and Nigerians will hail the government as if nothing wrong has happened before. These are ways of addressing the issues.
President Buhari says those of you talking about restructuring are naïve. What do you say to this?
Initially, I said, maybe the president doesn’t understand the issue, but the truth today is that if somebody says you are naive and you don’t understand, it means the person understands. So, let us give Mr President the benefit of the doubt. Let him invite people talking about restructuring. Let him invite the people talking about true federalism and we sit and explain it to him. Then he will understand that we are not naïve.
I said that true federalism can be achieved through a process and it will not happen one day, but let the process start and we will get there and he will understand that we are not naive. This electoral process we are talking about is part of the restructuring; it is not naïve. If we want things to work right. Now, people change results using returning officers or just arbitrarily cancel results so that somebody else will win. If we say, let’s go electronic, which will capture the results and transfer, are we being naïve? Let him invite these naïve people. We will come and explain it to him.
The National Assembly has embarked on another round of constitutional amendment. Do you see anything coming out of it, especially now that the Senate President has said he doesn’t believe in it?
It is good that people are showing their true colour. People who came in and benefited from the system that is wrong will not allow that system to be changed. We are not changing anybody, but we are trying to make Nigeria work. If today, through the military adjustment / constitution and whatever, things are not done rightly and some sections of the country have been favoured above others and the others who are downtrodden are complaining; don’t they have the right to complain? If we adopted the American system, which is federalism and we have been operating this system rightly or wrongly and we want to do things that can work in our system, is that wrong?
They have started the process of constitutional review. Many Assemblies before them have attempted it twice or more, we didn’t see anything serious coming out of it and we believe too that this will follow the same process. So the better thing is to invite these people making noise about restructuring and find out what they meant and how it can be achieved without creating undue problem for the Nigeria state. We have the National Assembly in place guaranteed by the constitution, how do we accommodate this restructuring within this system. Something can be done. Do we continue to work with this military constitution, which starts with, ‘We the people’? When did ‘we the people’ sit down to decide? All we are saying is that because you feel things are not working the way you want, invite the people taking, sit down with them and let them explain.
Let me give you an example: In my zone, North East, we went to Bauchi and we have been struggling with state creation in the early 80s, and today we went with our submission and our state came out to say that they don’t want any state created out of Borno. Can you imagine that kind of thing? Since the state was created till today, the governor has always comes from one section. We want a state and we meet the criteria, but those oppressing don’t want it. We were even shortlisted during the 2014 Conference and they are saying they don’t want any stated created. This is the kind of situation we are suffering from. With this kind of behaviour, where some people who are dominating want the system to remain the same, do you think people will be happy? The Senate president’s state, Yobe did the same thing. Borno and Yobe, the two states came out and said the same thing, that they don’t want any state created out of them. So, that is the mind set of such people. It is unfortunate and it is good for Nigerians to know that the people who are benefiting from this system don’t want this system to be changed for the betterment of Nigeria. The problem they are going to have on their hands will be too much to handle.
Today, all these agitations for separation and dismemberment of Nigeria are coming because things are not working right. Let these people come on board and listen to the people who are crying out so that we can get Nigeria working. The security situation is disturbing everybody. The NASS should not think that they are safe, when the bubble bursts, it is going to consume everyone; not only the ordinary people.
In the railway system being rehabilitated, only the Eastern corridor from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri line that passes through the Middle Belt region is left with the outdated narrow gauge. But only the South East protested, while the Middle Belt has been silent. Why?
We were so occupied with the things that worry us more, the insecurity. Who will not want a railway system to be seen in their territory? Whether it is Middle Belt, South East, South West, we will love the presidency to do what is needful that will be beneficial to Nigerians for generations to come. We are not quiet, but we were busier on issues that worry us more. This thing is a long-term project; there are going to be some drawings and so many things, it is the funding that is the issue. The Middle Belt prefers the Federal Government to have this railway at standard gauge so that in future we would not spend more money to correct it.
Northern leaders don’t seem to agree with this Middle Belt Forum. They say you guys are seeking attention, that the leader of the Arewa Consultative Forum is usually a person from the Middle Belt. What’s your take?
Right from colonial period, the Colonial government recognised the existence of nationalities who were not part of the caliphate when they came in. That was what informed the constitution of the Willinks Commission that went across the Middle Belt and Northern areas to identify and address issues of ethnic minorities, who were not under the authority of the majority because when they came, they knew the existence of Kanem Borno, they knew the existence of the caliphate, so they realised minority groups who are independent. They introduced the Indirect Rule and subjugated these minority ethnic groups under the caliphate system or the Kanem Borno system for their administrative convenience. Of course, the Willinks Commission, which between 1957 and 1958, even drew a map that indicated where these non Hausa Fulani and non Kanuri nationalities are located. The intention was for these nationalities that are non Hausa Fulani, non Kanuri nationalities also to have a region for themselves just like what obtained in 1962 when the Mid West was created. Unfortunately for the Middle Belt or Middle Belt people who were in Middle Belt of the country, the region was never created because the Northern regional government, the Colonial government, the Northern People Congress (NPC), the party that came up in the North and the Willinks Commission (because they wanted to hand over power to the North) conspired and denied the creation of Middle Belt Region. Thank God that these documents have been declassified and we know what happened.
So, whether they recognise it or not, the Middle Belt people have come of age. Even at that time, people like J.S. Tarka and others felt that they should come out with their identity to the extent that when the NPC was formed for the North, they came out with United Middle Belt Congress, as Middle Belt party.
These people, by taking people from the Middle Belt and making them the leaders of their group is a way of saying, let us be together; let us continue to remain as one united North. But when it comes to appointments and facilities, discrimination is very clear and we have seen this over and over again. So because of that we are saying, we cannot be used as cannon fodders again to your fight and your domination and your assertion and using us just to grab power in Nigeria. We want our own identity and that is why we remain as Middle Belt. If they take somebody who believes in monolith North, which to us doesn’t exist anymore and make him the leader of ACF, it is up to them. In a democracy, you don’t have hundred per cent; there are some persons who would vary in perception, in ideology, but those of us who feel and believe they are Middle Belters will remain so. Our people are getting more and more aware that the deception that we are one is being exposed and people know that we are not one because of the stratification and hierarchical consideration in the North – there are those who are first class, there are those who are second class and maybe, there are even some who are third class. We have come to also understand that we have to assert out rights as Middle Belters and promote the ideal and ideology of Middle Belt irrespective of how Arewa view us.
As a way of arresting the Fulani herders –farmers crisis, the president said he was going to reinvent the grazing routes. Most of the routes crisscross the Middle Belt. What’s your opinion?
All we are saying is, ‘ranch your livestock’, and ranching should be community based because Nigerians know their local Fulani. All of us know our local Fulani, whether it is in Katsina, whether it is in Benue, Plateau or the Mambila Hill of Taraba; whether it is in Kwara or south, all communities know their local Fulani.
We are saying that the ranching has to be community based, and not to go and take over people’s land and say you are constituting a grazing reserve, only to leave it to Fulani from Mali, Niger, Senegal, to come and populate Nigeria and be causing havoc in the country. This is not acceptable, it is detrimental to Nigeria’s existence and we object to it. The issue of cattle route, the constitution of the country is very clear. Lands are in the hands of the governors, not the Federal Government. The Federal Government controls only the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Are they going to open grazing route in FCT? Grazing route is not going to work unless the governors give the land, but they are collectively saying, let’s go ranching, and we are adding our voice to say, let the ranching be community based. To resolve the issue of foreign Fulani running over our land, stopping everybody from going to farm, killing, kidnapping and raping the owners of the land, we are saying let ECOWAS Treaty of free movement be stopped and let Mr President voice out to his colleagues that this thing is causing problem in his country. Let each country accommodate its Fulani.
Senator representing Nasarawa West, Abdullahi Adamu, has in an interview with Sunday Sun, warned that no one should complain should the North begin to retaliate the killings and damages suffered by northerners living in the South. Adamu who was a two-term governor of Nasarawa State, and now a senator under the All Progressives Congress (APC), said Northerners living in the South have suffered injustice, while southerners living in the North enjoy the benefits without being attacked.
He however, added that moves by Southern Governors to ban open grazing without providing alternatives, and also doing nothing about the killings of Northerners in the South, could come at a heavy cost, as Southerners living in the North could end up paying the price.
He said while the governors pretend to be against the breaking of the country, their actions speaks otherwise.
“They (Southern governors) are sounding like a broken record. You know what a broken record does? It cracks,” he said while condemning the decision of 17 Southern Governors to ban open grazing.
“I expected them to be more educated people with responsibility of governance. Each of those governors is under an oath for loyalty, for preservation of the sovereignty of this country.
“That means every one of them is duty-bound to stay away from any act or words that have the tendency of being perceived as being separatists.
“I was a governor for eight years. I know what the Governors’ Forum is. I headed it for five years of my right years. Before that, I was chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum. So, the secretariat you see and the bureaucracy I set them up during my time.”
Adamu added, “Before the Asaba Accord, there was a meeting of all the state governors. About 36 of them were there. Less than a week of that meeting, some people came out and claimed Southern Governors Forum. There is nothing wrong with regional bodies.
“But these governors know the constitution and they know that every Nigerian has the right of movement and association. A right to pursue legitimate goals. These governors are saying no cattle or open grazing. What is the alternative? Have they provided any? If Northern governors come together and take a position, what will happen? What right have you to tell Nigerians not to move freely?
“If northern groups say no southern business in the area, how will that end up? There are killings of northerners going on in the South. If the North decides to retaliate, we will call it genocide. What is happening to us? We only know about problems, but not solutions. People are openly calling for a break up of the country.”
The ban was also condemned by the National President of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, Abdullahi Bello Bodejo, who insists that herdsmen have the constitutional right to graze anywhere in the country, and made it clear that the only thing that would stop herdsmen from grazing in any part of the country, is lack of grass. Otherwise, they’ll continue to graze and nothing would happen.
While speaking on ban on open grazing declared by the Southern governors, he said, “We are going to follow the law and see how to approach some good leaders in the South-East, South-West and the South-South. We will also approach the Inspector General of Police and other security agencies to protect our people.
“It is not about grazing; it is a plan against Fulani people. Some people want to hijack the cattle business from us. Anywhere you go now, you see Fulani grazing cows and you will think they belong to them. No! The cows belong to some people in that area or community.
“If you go to Benue, the state that first promulgated the anti open grazing law, you can see cows grazing; their owners are Tiv people. Even the governor, Samuel Ortom, has so many cows. They want to chase us away and continue with our business.
“What these Southern governors are trying to do, some other African countries tried it, but it didn’t work. So, this one will not be an exception. You can’t just wake up without plan B, and say you have banned open grazing.
“This business has history; we didn’t just wake up and start cow rearing. It is a blessing from God; it is God that blessed us with this business, it is not like farming or palm wine tapping business. This is from the beginning; the only thing is how to transform the business.
“These governors are confused; they are trying to deny Fulani their rights and means of livelihood. Nigeria has only one constitution, which the governors are breaching. We may approach the court to stop them from carrying out their plans.
“The process by which they arrived at their decision was wrong. They were supposed to have invited us because we are part of their various states. If you are a governor, you are a governor for everybody living in that state. Since we live in all the states doing our business, it behooved them to have invited us to the meeting.
See also Osinbajo reacts to rumours on Buhari’s purported order “I don’t know who is giving them this evil idea. No state can progress without Fulani being in that state; any state without Fulani is backward and poor. Fulani attract blessing. They don’t have problem, but unfortunately, people attribute kidnapping, robbery and banditry to them. It is not fair.
“They have not seen their people killing police and other security personnel. How many police stations have Fulani burnt? How many policemen have Fulani killed? But they want to tamper with the business God has blessed us with. The governors are very wrong.”
When told Southern governors are determined to execute the recent ban, he said, “I say it categorically that this ban on open grazing by the Southern governors will never work. The only thing that can stop us from grazing in any area is if there are no grasses and water in such place. Fulani don’t have borders or boundaries; they don’t need permission to graze their cows from one area to another area.
“There is no law, no constitution prohibiting them from doing so. Fulani are educated and they believe in leadership. They follow the constitution, which permits them internationally to graze anywhere. ECOWAS permits us to graze anywhere, but any person that commits a crime, let the law of the land be visited upon such a person,” he added.
Few years ago controversial figure Prof Ango Abdullahi’s made this mischievous claim about the North’s groundnuts and agricultural produce being used to finance oil exploration. Severally, this mischievous and false historical revisionism have been debunked with historical archival records
In this case, the lies was debunked with facts, data and analysis from federal government and British archival records by Niger-Delta amazon, Annkio Briggs
RESPONSE TO PROF. ANGO ABDULLAHI’s CLAIMS
Southern Protectorate, Southern Nigeria And Or Niger Delta Have Always Sustained Herself Without Depending On The North For Any Economic Assistance, From Time Immemorial.
Verifiable Sources of Records with Facts and Figures Part 1 (Pre-amalgamation Era Records, from 1900 – 1913)
It is a fact that Southern Nigeria was a British protectorate in the coastal areas of modern-day Nigeria formed in 1900 from the union of the Niger Coast Protectorate (NCP) with territories chartered by the Royal Niger Company (RNC) below Lokoja on the Niger River.
Lagos was added in 1906, and the territory was officially renamed the Colony and Protectorate of Southern Nigeria. In 1914 Southern Nigeria Protectorate (SNP) was joined with Northern Nigeria Protectorate (NNP) to form the single colony of Nigeria.
‘The unification was done for economic reasons rather than political – Northern Nigeria Protectorate had a budget deficit: and the colonial administration sought to use the budget surpluses in Southern Nigeria to offset this deficit’.
According to Micheal Crowder the great historian, in his article titled “Lugard and Colonial Nigeria – Towards an identity?” Which was taken from his book “History Today” February 1986, Vol. 36,pp 23 – 29, wherein he stated thus: “the Colonial office ruled that the rich Southern Protectorate should provide the deficit-ridden Northern Protectorate with funds to finance its Baro rail line.”
Consequently, even without waiting for the amalgamation of the northern and southern Nigeria, the Baro-Kano railway was built from £s77,207.09 (Pound Sterling) funds obtained as loan from Southern Nigeria (Source: Annual Report of the Colonies, Northern Nigeria, 1907-8, pp, 76)
The reality was that the Southern Protectorate was rich and the Colonial government had a surplus budget, while the Northern protectorate was poor and had a deficit budget, in ordinary language the Southern protectorate was rich, and the Northern protectorate was poor.
That the North after amalgamation suddenly became rich to start funding the development of not only the North that took a loan of £77,207.09 (Pound Sterling) to build the Baro-Kano railway, which has not been paid back.
Flowing from the above, it has come to the notice of the NIGER DELTA SELF DETERMINATION MOVEMENT (NDSDM) and the NIGER DELTA OCCUPY NIGER DELTA RESOURCES (NDONDR) that Prof. Ango Abdullahi have made some statements and claims that we the Niger Delta people find necessary to respond to with verifiable facts and figures, to ensure that our people are not advertently or inadvertently misled.
On the 5th of February 2017, in an interview conducted by Kenny Ashaka and Abdullahi Hassan and published in the Sun, a Nigerian National newspaper, Prof. Ango Abdullahi in his capacity as the Spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) was quoted as saying “North Ready For Nigeria’s Break Up.”
It will be recalled that in a previous interview published by News Express on the 13/07/2014 (the 2014 National Conference was still sitting) Prof Ango Abdullahi, as spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, was also quoted as “We are ready for Nigeria’s break-up”.
This is based on the insistent breaking up of Nigeria proposal/offer made by the Northern Elders Forum, through their spokesman, Professor Ango Abdullahi, for themselves and on behalf of Northern Nigeria as a whole.
We the Niger Delta Self Determination Movement (NDSDM) and the Niger Delta Occupy Niger Delta Resources (NDONDR), for ourselves and on behalf of the Niger Delta people hereby unconditionally accept the Northern Elders Forum offer as the NDSDM and NDONDR are ready for and desire such a break up as much as the NEF desire it.
It should be noted here that there is no disagreement on the preparedness of the NEF (representing Northern Nigeria), and the NDSDM/NDONDR (representing the Niger Delta peoples) for the breakup of Nigeria, we look forward to the discussions that will speedily lead us to our desired end.
Prof. Abdullahi have consistently stated that there is nothing wrong in dividing Nigeria, again we completely agree with the good Professor. We also agree with him that the North will prosper rapidly if Nigeria breaks up.
Before this final position of the North as clearly presented by Prof. Abdullahi, that the North has the capacity to develop fast if let go by Nigeria, we in the Niger Delta are aware that there existed a conspiracy as far back as 1900 between the colonial British government and the North, to oppress and deprive the indigenous and independent people of the geographical region the British Colonial Government named Southern protectorate.
We believe that the North of Nigeria has more than enough resources like cows, goats, rams, sheep, beans, maize, tomatoes, onions, land mass and disputed population claim to develop faster (please refer to the document prepared by the Northern Think-Tank constituted by the Northern Governors, the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, with the title “Key Issues before the Northern Delegates to the 2014 National Conferences, see pages iii and 40).
We in the South are willing and very ready to let go of the burden we have carried on our backs since before the creation of Southern and Northern protectorates as the North have perpetually depended on the South for all their socio-economic needs like roads, water, light, railways, schools, hospitals, civil servants salaries, and all other infrastructural need.
It is necessary at this point to remind the world that we in the South pay for all the agricultural resources the North brings to sell in the South, while they take our own money from our resources for free and they create unviable States, LGAs, Federal constituencies and Senatorial districts for their economic and political gains and share our resources, including the distribution of our oil blocks to themselves.
While we prepare for the discussion to break-up Nigeria, the NDSDM and NDONDR based on available and verifiable documents states unequivocally that the South of Nigeria as far back as the records exists have never depended on the North at any point in time for her economic survival or infrastructural development.
The false claim by Prof. Ango Abdullahi that ‘the north sustained the entire Nigerian state from 1914 up to 1974” without verifiable records showing facts and figures is unacceptable, malicious and a deliberate attempt to distort the historical records in the archives of the British government and all over the world.
We, the NDSDM/NDONDR are set to produce verifiable records containing historical facts and figures as available in the British archives in particular and other global verifiable records in general, to counter the false claims made by Professor Abdulahhi.
It is our belief that, His Emenence Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano spoke with hindsight of records (facts and figures), vis a vis the present day realities, where the different peoples from the Middle Belt, the Yorubas, the Ndigbo, and the Niger Delta are all agitating for Fiscal Federalism, Resource Ownership and Control and Self Determination, while in the North Boko Haram is rejecting Western Education as their own form of agitation.
Based on the unsubstantiated claims of Professor Ango Abdulahhi the NDSDM/NDONDR hereby challenge and call on the professor to show or provide Nigeria and indeed the world, the sources of his malicious and bogus claim that the North sustained Nigeria with revenue from Northern Nigeria between 1914 and 1974.
Failure to provide verifiable records to Nigerians and the world will leave us with no option but to continue with the release of authentic and verifiable records with facts and figures. To show our seriousness on this issue, we hereby present verifiable pre-amalgamation (1900 – 1913) records with facts and figures as follows:
Northern Nigeria Protectorate Revenue (Local) and Expenditure (1900 – 1913).
Please see table 1 below:
The false claim by Prof Ango Abdullahi that the north sustained the entire Nigerian state from 1914 up to 1974 is unacceptable, malicious, deliberate
From the data on table 1 above, the North had a total budget expenditure of £2,999,488.00 (with an average annual expenditure of £599,897.60), a total local revenue of £1,158,240.00 (with an average annual revenue of £231,648.00, which is 39% of the total expenditure), thereby leaving a total budget deficit of £1,841,248.00 (with an average annual deficit of £368,249.60, which is 61% of the total expenditure).
We hereby call for a referendum for the break-up of Nigeria (Niger Delta-N-Exit) and put the int’l community on notice that Nigeria is ready to break-up, based-on and relying on the offer of the North thru the spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum and our Southerners in Nigeria By implication, the north could only fund 39% of their annual budgets from 1900 – 1913, consequently, the 61% deficit of the north was funded by the South (13%), the Imperialists/British government (86%) and Lagos funds (1%), even when we had not been amalgamated.
Southern Nigeria Protectorate Revenue (Local) and Expenditure (1900 – 1913).
Please see table 2 below:
The false claim by Prof Ango Abdullahi that the north sustained the entire Nigerian state from 1914 up to 1974 is unacceptable, malicious, deliberate
From table 2 above, the annual surplus budgets of the south from 1900-1913, shows that the south was rich, self-sufficient and even had surplus to give to the north.
With a total annual cumulative expenditure of £17,025,583.00 in thirteen years, and an average annual expenditure budget of £1,216,113.07, its total cumulative annual revenue of £18,635,342.00, and average cumulative annual revenue of £1,331,095.86, the south therefore had a budget surplus of a cumulative total amount of £1,609,759.00, which is 9% of its total unspent monies.
It is important to note here that the south had budget deficits in 1905 and 1909 respectively but funded itself from its surplus reserve, and neither borrowed from the north nor the Imperialist/British government.
Also, it is worthy of note here that the £582,750.00 the South generously contributed to the north within the period 1900-1913 was generated from the South’s surplus of £1,609,759.00, which is cumulative annual average surplus of £114,982.79.
Grant-In-Aid from Imperial Treasury & Southern Nigeria to Northern Nigeria(19001913).
Please see table 3 below:
The false claim by Prof Ango Abdullahi that the north sustained the entire Nigerian state from 1914 up to 1974 is unacceptable, malicious, deliberate
From table 3 above, the annual deficit budgets of the north from 1900-1913, was funded by the South with a total amount of £557,750.00 (with an average annual funding of £55,775.00in thirteen years, which is13% of the North’s budget), the Imperialists with a total amount of £3,574,684.00 (with an average annual funding of £274,975.69 in thirteen years, which is 86% of the North’s budget) and Lagos funds with a total amount of £25,000.00 (with an average annual funding of £12,500.00 in two years, which is 1% of the North’s budget).
Based on the data, information and verifiable records and the sources we have presented above, we will begin to commence the compilation of same for the years 1914 – 2017 while we expect the good professor Ango Abdullahi and the North to provide their facts and figures on how the South have been depending on the North, citing verifiable sources and records with facts and figures
In conclusion, we hereby call for a referendum for the break-up of Nigeria (Niger Delta-N-Exit) and put the international community (including but not limited to the United Nations, African Union, Economic Community of West African States, the American, British, French, German governments) on notice that Nigeria is ready to break-up now, based-on and relying on the offer of the North through the spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum and our Southerners in Nigeria. (ElombahNews)
Sheik Abubakar Gumi, a well-known Islamic cleric, estimates that the North-West alone has 100,000 armed bandits.
According to Gumi, the bandits kidnapped pupils who were enraged because he negotiated with them without involving the Federal Government stressing that no school could be safe unless the government dealt with the herdsmen.
He provided these details during an interview with The PUNCH on the kidnapped pupils of Tegina Islamic School in Niger State.
The bandits demanded N200 million from the parents of the victims, which was ultimately reduced to N150 million. Despite efforts to free the students, Gumi said the bandits were resolute in their demand for money.
He said, “But we are trying to talk sense to them that these are just innocent schoolchildren. We don’t even have any idea of the condition of the children. We are just saying these are young children trying to study and they did nothing, so why are you trying to take dirty money from their families?
“This (kidnap of Islamic pupils) actually proves to the nation that the bandits are not really indoctrinated, they are just looking for money and I think that this is a good prognosis. They are not targeting a religion; they are not ideologues, which are difficult to deal with. We should not forget that they are not educated, formally or informally. They are just going about with cattle, and suddenly they found a lucrative way of finding money.
“But with good engagement, education and enticements like jobs and other things, they will leave this work. But we need a partner and we need the government to understand. Individuals like me alone cannot do it.
“All those we met (have stopped kidnapping), except for one of them who is kidnapping again, and he told us his reason, that he was neglected and he thought we had the mandate to negotiate. But when he realised that we did not have the mandate from anybody, he said he was going back to his business.
“So, the earlier we go into engaging them, the better. The ones who have agreed to lay down arms, you can engineer them to take care of the rest.”
Gumi stated that the Niger State Government had made steps to free the children, but that the state’s finances were limited.
He claimed that the government could not protect schools unless it first found a way to halt the country’s banditry.
“To secure schools, why not engage the bandits. Engage them; they are not many. You can count them with your fingers. How can you guard schools? It is not possible. In the whole North-West, they may not be more than 100,000 bandits. And that is just a drop in the ocean. That is talking about those with weapons; because not all of them have weapons. Ninety per cent of those who have weapons use them to protect themselves against cattle rustlers. They are victims too. Aerial bombardments will only worsen the situation because when you start killing their children, you remember they also have our children,” he added. (Punch)
Ajibola Basiru, spokesman for the Senate, says there is no grazing-route law in Nigeria.
Basiru said this following the statement of the President on the farmer-herder crisis.
The President while fielding questions in an interview with Arise Television on Thursday, said: “What I did was ask him (AGF) to go and dig the gazette of the first republic when people were obeying laws. “There were cattle routes and grazing areas. Cattle routes were for when they (herders) are moving up country, north to south or east to west, they had to go through there.”
But speaking with The PUNCH, Basiru said the gazette that Buhari was referring to was a product of a decree promulgated in northern Nigeria in the 1960s, adding that the Land Use Act recognised by the constitution has rendered it ineffective.
“Nigerians should be concerned over whether the Nigerian president is actually getting the correct legal advice from his attorney-general and the legal team,” the senator said.
“As far as I am concerned, as a legal practitioner, there is nothing like grazing routes or grazing reserve law, in the laws of the federation of Nigeria. There is nothing like that.
“There is no federal legislation that the president can implement over such matter. The executive powers of the president merely rely on the powers of the National Assembly to make laws, when you look at Section 5 of the constitution.
“Any area where the National Assembly cannot make laws, and there is no express grants of powers to the president under the constitution, a purported exercise of power by the president in that regard, will be null and void because it is inconsistent with the constitution by section 1(3) of the 1999 constitution.
“I am aware that there is a northern Nigerian law on reserve and grazing routes which was promulgated by a 1964 decree by the premier of the defunct northern Nigeria region.”
The legislator said there is no way a decree for Northern Nigeria will be implemented as a federal law.
“It is not a federal law unless the legal adviser to Mr President is equating a northern Nigeria law, which is not applicable in the west, mid-west, and eastern region or in anywhere in the southern part of Nigeria, to be a federal or a Nigerian law,” he said.
“The president does not have the power to implement that law because it is not a federal law. He can only implement federal legislation made by the National Assembly or deemed to have been made by the National Assembly.
“The grazing routes law is not a National Assembly law, so there is nothing for the president to implement. It is regrettable that the president has not been properly advised by his attorney-general and the legal team.” (Punch)
Former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof Usman Yusuf has accused Southerners in the country of profiling the Fulani ethnic group even though some tribes from the region are allegedly responsible for some vices in the Northern region of the country.
Speaking in an interview with The Sun, Usman alleged that agitations for restructuring and secession are blackmail tools being employed by the Igbos and Yorubas to force their way into the Presidential Villa in Abuja in 2023.
When asked why he said the 17 Southern governors should have consulted Fulani groups before banning open grazing even though Kano and some other northern states banned the consumption of alcohol without carrying along other stakeholders, Usman said;
I said and I’m repeating it that the Asaba declaration is unconstitutional based on Section 4 of the Nigerian Constitution, which guarantees every Nigerian the right to live and earn a living in any part of the country regardless of ethnicity, politics or religion. What they did was unconstitutional, null and void. Secondly, making a particular law that is specific against an ethnic group is dangerous. I also said that Asaba declaration is nothing but a premeditated quit order for all Fulani to leave the South. It is just like the governor of Kano or any state in the North saying, ‘do not sell spare parts’ and does not provide an alternative place for Igbo traders to sell their wares.
Many of these Fulani in the South have lived there for generations; many don’t even speak Hausa. So, if I’m governor of a state in the North and say, do not sell spare parts in this place, but I did not provide an alternative place for you to sell spare parts, it is just like saying Igbo spare parts dealers should leave my place. Asaba declaration was nothing but a quit order for all Fulani to leave the South. Fulani herders have started leaving the South-East, which is very dangerous. Leadership matters.
Those 17 governors didn’t think through the national security implications of their political gerrymandering in Asaba. Those herders are citizens of the South; you don’t make laws without consulting them. They have lived there for generations more than many of these governors. All of a sudden, you tell them not to do what they have done for generations. You vilify them for all the crimes in the South. What of the Eastern Security Network and IPOB that are killing police and everybody there? Let’s see if these killings will stop as Fulani are leaving the South.
Southern governors need to be sensible. They are saying all the security problems in the South are because of Fulani herders who have lived there for generations. They are just trying to find an ethnic group to vilify and I warned that they should be very careful. There are over 15 million Igbo living peacefully in the North. We elders and all our traditional rulers, as well as clerics have been trying to keep things down. We have seen seven Hausa Suya sellers killed in Imo; we have seen pictures posted online by ESN IPOB of Fulani families, women and children they killed. I have personally interacted with these families.
Nobody is saying anything. I blamed Igbo leaders for their silence. If anything happens to the Igbo in the North, the first people that will come out are traditional rulers and the clerics will be calming down the situation. But in the South-East, Nnamdi Kanu and ESN are doing that rascality specifically targeting another ethnic group, but I do not hear a word from any Igbo elder. They are in Abuja looking for Igbo presidency.
The way they are going, South-East will be worse than the North-East. These Igbo leaders that are shouting Igbo presidency will run to Abuja or Lagos. They are afraid of Nnamdi Kanu and are trying to appease him. In the South-West, Igboho, who is nothing but an illiterate, a political thug is doing all this nonsense and now calling the shots in the region that claims to be very educated, but everybody is keeping silent. The North is looking and watching quietly. All of a sudden, the South-West leaders ran to Lagos to say, they are not for secession. You cannot have your cake and eat it.
You can’t gather 17 of you in Asaba and give people quit notice and came to Lagos and say, we are not together with them. No, you are together. Asaba declaration is unconstitutional, null and void and they need to be very careful. Politics is not threat, it is not blackmail. It is reaching out to people.
Usman also alleged that the Igbos broughts drugs to the north, while the biggest armed robbers in North have allegedly been Igbo, Yoruba and Edo people.
I’m 60 years old and I have lived in this country long enough. All they are saying is bullshit and they know that. All thee SANs, many of them are my juniors and interact with them and they call me. They are telling us that the Fulani are the cause of the security problem in the whole of the South. The Fulani have left the South-East now and it is scary. They can do all their talks. These SANs you are talking about are in Abuja, they should be in the South-East engaging IPOB, just as we go inside the forests to engage the bandits.
If I use my cows to destroy your farm, isn’t there a law against it? Why should they paint the whole of the Fulani in the South in bad light? The Igbo brought drugs in the North and they are also into robbery. The 19 governors have never tainted the Igbo. The biggest armed robbers in the North have been Igbo, Yoruba and Edo people and they are also the biggest kidnappers. Go to Kano, the drugs are brought from the East. We are warning the South against profiling, vilifying, dehumanising an ethnic group, as this will not get us anywhere. So they can do all the nonsense, we are very educated too. The constitution is clear; Section 4 protects every citizens. There are a lot more Yoruba, Igbo and other Southerners in the North living very well and peacefully.
The Southern governors need to be very careful. Ondo State governor, Akeredolu, who is spearheading this, did his NYSC in Yola and stayed in Yola to practise as a young lawyer. The hospitality of the Fulani in Yola is what made him what he is today. He is married to an Igbo woman and so, is supposed to be a better Nigerian that any other person. People need to be very careful; these politicians will mess this country and run away. This country we call Nigeria was brought by the blood and sweat of people, not this opportunistic politicians. If they continue making laws vilifying an ethnic group, Igbo will be the losers.
That is why we elders in the North are raising our voices to say that the Asaba nonsense must stop. The killing of Northerners in the East by the so-called unknown gunmen who you all know are IPOB/ ESN must stop. Igbo have far real estate and financial investments in the North, courtesy of the goodwill, the kindness and the generosity of our people across the North. If a governor decides to revoke or do any law to revoke their real estate or their financial investments, Igbo will be losers.
Igbo need to be very careful; they have so much investments and so many of them are living in the North. The North hasn’t anybody in the South, as they have now kicked out all the Fulani herdsmen in the South-East.
On Southern Governors asking for restructuring, Usman stated that it is equitable for northerners and also questioned the number of votes people from the South-East gave Buhari.
It is not equitable for us in the North. I’m from Katsina, the same state with the president. How many votes did the entire South-East give him? We gave him 1.2 million votes. What do we have to show for it? We have nothing to show but death and destruction. You guys say that Buhari is nepotistic. Is there any state that a president has fired four chief executives of key agencies from his state during his administration? Which state is that? It is Katsina. Lawal Daura, DSS; myself, Prof Usman Yusuf, NSIF; Prof Naimek Ahmed, and Hadija Bala Usman, NPA. These are four key agencies in this country that the president fired. Has he done that in any state? He is nepotistic when it comes to appointment and also nepotistic when it comes to firing.
The NHIS former executive secretary however doubled down and claimed that the north is not afraid of restructurig.
When told that the South cannot push for restructuring because the North will shout it down, he said;
Who is afraid of restructuring. People in the South think that the North is afraid of restructuring, and they are absolutely wrong. Our lives in the North were better than it was with all these states. All these people gathering themselves as Middle Belt Forum and this forum are not representing anybody; they are just representing themselves and trying to be relevant for 2023.
Nobody in the North is afraid of restructuring. Secondly, all those asking for restructuring don’t even know what they want. Thirdly, there are people who wrongfully believe that restructuring will change their electoral equation that will make their ethnic group to be the next president in 2023 and there are those who are using restructuring and secession, Biafra and Oduduwa Republic as blackmail tool, thinking that they will blackmail themselves into the Villa in 2023.
Restructuring can never happen without interrogating the 1999 Constitution as amended because it recognises 36 states. For you to do anything you must interrogate that constitution. I’m talking about going back to true federalism, where we were. Serious nations are charting the way forward, but selfish politicians want to take us backward where they will be the premier. These warlords that call themselves governors, can they relinquish their offices? They won’t. You want restructuring, go and interrogate the constitution. You can’t do it in the street of Orlu, in Sambisa Forest, in the forest of Niger, or in Igboho land. You can only do it in the House of Assembly through your elected representatives. All members of House of Representatives and Senators got their tickets through these governors who gathered in Asaba. They should assemble and tell them to push for the interrogation of the constitution to give way for restructuring. This is how politics is done.
Democracy is about number. How did Hope Uzodimma become Imo State governor? How did Wike become governor? Is it not because of the majority of the votes? That is democracy; a minority cannot impose its wish on the majority. If the minority wants its way, it reaches out. You gather 17 governors in Asaba and Igbo that are only about 15 per cent of the population want to intimidate a group with a larger population?
He also accused the Yorubas of making noise and also described their position as “nonsense”.
Yoruba have louder mouths than other people; they have the media, etc. The number two in this government is a Yoruba man. The number four is Yoruba. Fashola, a Yoruba was given three ministries. The South-West has benefited far more in this government than the North-West, and nobody from the North is making noise. They have been making noise and their position is nonsense. The South-West governors, after they went and romanced with the South-East and South-South governors, came back to Lagos to say we are not for secession. They should know that 17 governors or 17 states cannot make up the president. They need to learn politics. If you have a problem with the 1999 Constitution, go to the Senate and the House of Representatives. It wasn’t made in Katsina; wherever it was made, we need to sit down and sort it out. (Lindaikejiblog)