Former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and spokesman of Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, has advised that Nigeria should either revert to the 1960 constitution or be broken up.
He stated this when he spoke at a two day conference on “The North and the Future of Nigerian Federation” which was put together by the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), in collaboration with Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation; the Northern Elders Forum; Arewa Consultative Forum; Code Group; Northern Delegates Forum; Arewa Reawakening; Jamiyar Matan Arewa and Forum for Northern Youths Organisations.
On the growing demand for the restructuring of the country, Abdullahi said that the call showed “the failure of the operators and not the structure.”
He further argued that Nigerians who are demanding that reports of the 2006 and 2014 conferences by former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan respectively be implemented were ill-informed.
According to him, the two conferences were plotted to achieve a preset result by the conveners. While he noted that Obasanjo’s conference was to allow him grab a third term, that of Jonathan he said was put up to legitimise his ambition to strangulate other regions.
Abdullahi therefore said that the two best option left for the country was to revert to what obtained before the 1914 amalgamation or revert to the 1960 constitution.
“Let us go our separate ways. If on the other hand we give credit to the British and our founding fathers (and they deserve credit), and we cannot contain restructuring based on what existed in 1914, we should go back to 1960 when the country operated regions. The north is not afraid of getting our north back,” he said.
He also wondered why the call for the restructuring of the country so much mouthed while a northerner is in power and described the demand as a “political blackmail against northern Nigeria.”
Vowing that the North “will not tolerate it anymore,” Abdullahi called on the region’s political players not to be in a haste into “committing the North to any agreement or allow anybody to stampede us into agreeing with something that will hurt the North.”
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar also spoke at the occasion. He was represented by Dr Auwal Anwar. He said in his speech that restructuring is a call for the devolution of more powers to the federating units; creation of state police and other such things.
“The North stands to gain more if there is devolution of power. If there were local police, there would not have been Boko Haram for instance because they would have had the intelligence to stop them.
“The new North has nothing to fear (about restructuring) because we have the land, the people and resources. His Tory will not wait for us. The north should direct the process and the outcome,” he said.
Sokoto State Governor and chairman of the conference, Aminu Tambuwal, also speaking at the event said, “The idea that the North is against restructuring because it benefits most from the current state of things is circumscribed and patently false.
“The fact that some people continue to parrot such lies only help to give credence to the flawed argument. Let us be clear: the North wants restructuring as much as anyone.”
Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, in his remarks at the event said that restructuring is now a task the North should carry as a “national plaque” since it is the elder brother in the Nigerian federation. He added that the North should handle the restructuring demand in an amicable and harmonious manner.
The governor was represented by his deputy, Bala Bantex.
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