Presidency To NEF: You Can’t Ask Any Section Of Nigeria To Leave

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The Presidency Tuesday flayed the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) for advising that a section of the country be allowed to secede.

This was contained in a release issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu.

He said it was a “delusional arrogance” that would lead such a group to state terms and conditions for the existence of the nation, describing NEF as “self-appointed and unelected group” of “opinionated tin-gods who have no traction with any responsible group.”

The release titled ‘Statement on the Call by Northern Elders Forum Asking a Section of the Country to Leave the Federation’ read: “We are aware of the latest statement from the so-called “Northern Elders Forum”.

“We wish to reassure Nigerians that it remains their democratically elected leadership which takes the decisions that steer our nation – and no one else.

“No self-appointed and unelected group can take this right from Nigerians – no matter how much coverage they might enjoy in the media. Nigerians listen to elected leaders, not opinionated tin-gods who have no traction with any responsible group.

“It is a delusional arrogance that would lead such a group to publicly state terms and conditions for the existence of our nation.

“Who gave them the right to ask for the exclusion, or expulsion of any one, group or section of the country from the Federal Republic of Nigeria?

“The Nigerian government does not take guidance nor invitations from such groups – only from the Nigerian people who put governments in office.

“Any group can refer to themselves as “leaders”, but in Nigeria, if you have not been elected by Nigerians to a leadership role, then you are not – and the government certainly doesn’t recognise you as such.
“Like many other countries around the world, Nigeria is feeling the strain of the current period of volatility and uncertainty. Now is not the time to seek to exacerbate divisions amongst Nigerians. Rather, we call on all Nigerians to come together and work to overcome the challenges we face as one nation, one people.”

The NEF had last year advised the Federal Government to allow the South-East pull out of the country if the support for secession for the region is widespread and have the backings of their leaders.

It said that political leaders in the region seemed to have submitted to violence and terror of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated this, at a press conference in Abuja after a closed-door meeting of the forum.

Baba-Ahmed had said: “The forum has arrived at the difficult conclusion that if support for secession among the Igbo is as widespread as it is being made to look, and Igbo leadership appears to be in support of it, then the country should be advised not to stand in their way.

“It will not be the best choice for the Igbo or Nigerians to leave a country we have all toiled to build and a country we all have responsibility to fix, but it will not help a country already burdened with failures on its knees to fight another war to keep the Igbo in Nigeria.”

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