Paul Unongo has resigned his position as the chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF). He said that the decision was to afford himself the opportunity to concentrate fully on things that move Nigeria forward.
Unongo’s resignation is coming a few days after he said that the people of Benue may be forced to raise an army to defend themselves should the Federal Government continue to fail them.
This was in response to the death of over 70 people killed in Benue State by suspected Fulani herdsmen.
He had only last year emerged the chairman of the forum, succeeding the late Maitama Sule, Nigeria’s former Permanent Representative to the United Nations.
His resignation was announced at an emergency meeting of the Forum in Abuja on Wednesday.
He told inquisitive newsmen who accusted him soon after the meeting to know why he decided to resign, “I opted to step down because of my conviction that the time has come for the NEF to produce the type of leaders that will implement some suggestions we have made. My stepping down will also afford me the opportunity to concentrate fully on other things that will further move the country forward.”
He further said, that NEF accepted his decision, and even went as far as asking him to select who to succeed him.
Unongo said, “I gave them the freedom to choose whoever they want and I will give the person my full support.”
The development was later confirmed in a statement released by NEF spokesperson, Professor Ango Abdullahi.
“The forum reluctantly accepted the offer of its convener to step aside to allow the emergence of a structured leadership which should prepare the forum to deal with many of the challenges facing the North.
“It took note of the sterling contributions of Wantaregh Paul Unongo to the foundation and development of the Northern Elders Forum along with its late predecessor and confident, Danmasanin Kano Alhaji Yusuf Maitama Sule.
“The Forum has been assured by Wantaregh Paul Unongo of his life-time commitment to the goals and projects of the Forum, and is grateful for the fatherly and statemanly status which he will continue to place at the service of the Forum.
“The Forum has approved that the Deputy Convener, Alhaji Sani Zangon Daura, CON should assume responsibility for the interim leadership of the Forum. Further reorganization of the Forum will be undertaken in the next few days,” the statement by Abdullahi read.
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