Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has claimed that some politicians interested in contesting the 2023 presidential election are plotting to weaken the North following the #EndSARS protest.
The NEF made the allegation in a statement on Wednesday night by its Director, Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
The group stated that there was a plot to force restructuring on the North, adding that the region would neither be blackmailed nor intimidated into accepting restructuring as a means to higher standards of justice, better security, and progress for all Nigerians.
“The Forum is aware of attempts to weaken the North by interests that believe that this is their only path to success in the 2023 elections,” Baba-Ahmed said.
“These interests should know that the North will neither be blackmailed nor intimidated, and we are quite capable of identifying and protecting our own interests.
“Some of these interests seek to exploit our plural nature and deepen what they see as divisions. They will fail, because northerners know that what unites us is a lot stronger than what divides us.
“Others create the impression that the North is opposed to the country being restructured along lines that will improve the quality of our union, ensure higher standards of justice, better security and progress for all Nigerians. These too will fail.
“The North is ready to discuss all elements of our co-existence, but will not be stampeded into submitting to other interests who feel uncomfortable with a strong and united North, or blackmailing us to adopt their versions of our future.”
NEF also slammed last week’s meeting in Kaduna by Northern Governors, high-level federal government officials and traditional rulers.
The group condemned the meeting for solely focusing on the potential for abuse of social media platforms and the possibility of hoodlums hijacking the #EndSARS protest in many cities of the south.
“That meeting missed a historic opportunity to acknowledge that northern communities are in dire need of improved security, and to give firm and specific assurances that our leaders care about northern lives and will take steps to protect us,” he said.
“We took particular note of the pivotal roles of governors and traditional rulers at that meeting, leaders who are thoroughly familiar with daily assaults by insurgents, bandits and kidnappers on northerners.
“These are leaders who should have understood the high hopes which northerners attached to a meeting of that nature in Kaduna, and they should understand that the impression left by that meeting and the frenzy of activities in parts of the south involving some northern leaders to show sympathy for damage from hoodlums leaves only one conclusion in the mind of northerners: northern lives do not matter.”