By Sagir Ibrahim
Northern Elders Forum(NEF) has stated that it is convinced that the time has come to respond to issues that threaten the collective security, unity and integrity of the country.
In a statement signed by the Forum’s director of Publicity and Advocacy, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Forum stated that it held back on joining issues with persons and groups with intent of provoking crises capable of escalating beyond the control of leaders whom they claim, are collectively showing definite signs that they are unwilling to steer the country away from the dangerous threats that are crippling it.
The statement read in part that “It is now clear that elected people sworn to protect the constitution and protect the unity and integrity of Nigeria have decided to surrender to deeply divisive or outrightly irredentist and secessionist tendencies and movements.
“The NEF recognises that most of these provocations feed from the widespread perception of a weak national leadership and a broken political process that has become captive of narrow political interests. For the record, the forum restates its support for a programmed transition that will eliminate open grazing and the establishment of productive, safe and sustainable options in managing our huge national asset in animal husbandry. This cannot be achieved with threats and harassment, but with commitment and collaboration involving all governments and stakeholders. It is in everyone’s interests to support an urgent national initiative that will engineer a safe and productive transition to the end of open grazing.”
Baba-Ahmed also stated that the forum has always supported initiatives that improve the quality of inputs into how Nigerians can address the limitations in the manner the country is operated, but lamented that the current efforts of the National Assembly to amend the constitution no longer boost confidence among Nigerians.
He, however, stresses that the North will not be cowed into escorting political ambitions of politicians at the cost of its rights, security and dignity and demanded that President Buhari asserts the powers the constitution gives him to protect the territorial integrity and secure citizens, or accept that he is incapable of leading the nation through these unprecedented challenges.