THE Northern Elders Forum on Monday expressed concern over the comments which it stated threatened the corporate existence of the country, saying the country was experiencing a defining moment.
The organisation, however, warned that no Nigerian should be threatened or ordered to leave any part of the country because it pleased other Nigerians that he did so.
The NEF in a statement by its Director (Publicity and Advocacy), Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, titled, ‘A defining moment for Nigeria’, said, “Many of the provocations and threats are directly related to manoeuvres 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.”
While expressing the view that there is a long way to go before 2023, he said the nation’s democratic process must not be made the hostage to dangerous and short-sighted politics.
Baba-Ahmed said, “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 capitalise 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.
“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.
“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’.
“Groups which are floating irredentist agenda to blackmail others do not impress the North. It is vital that elected leaders find the will to reduce the damage of opportunistic politicians.”