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Nigeria can break up – Ango Abdullahi

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  •   North not afraid of restructuring, says Tambuwal

iReporters News.

The spokesman of the Northern Elders Fo­rum (NEF) and for­mer Vice Chancellor, Ah­madu Bello University, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, has said that the North is ready to return to the pre-1914 era of Nigeria.

He said that the North and the South can go their separate ways, stressing that the North has made enough sacrifice for Nigeria’s exist­ence.

According to him, “the North has always sacrificed for the unity of Nigeria. I was a student when we got inde­pendence and we saw that each time there was need to unite Nigeria, the North made the largest sacrifice.

“Now, we have 36 states from three regions which existed in 1960. No coun­try has had constitutional conferences like Nigeria, yet it has not created a basis for a united country.

“If we want to restructure Ni­geria, we have to start from the be­ginning, 1914; North and South, let’s go our separate ways”.

He spoke on Wednesday at the opening ceremony of a two-day conference titled: “The North and the Future of the Nigerian Federation,” organised on by the Arewa Research and Develop­ment Project (ARDP) at Arewa House, Kaduna.

In an apparent reaction to the position of Southerners’ demand for restructuring, devolution and true federalism, Abdullahi, who does not see the secession threat as anything, declared that the “North is even prepared to go back to the pre-1914 arrangement”.

He said: “If we can’t go back to 1914, we should go back to 1960 regional governance. The North is not afraid of getting its North back just like those that want East and West back. I see this as a political manoeuvre and the North will not take it.”

He said that although restruc­turing means different things to different people, in his opinion, it would not make any difference be­cause the problem is not really in the structure but the managers of the country.

Abdullahi recalled that when he was confronted on this issue by people from the South, “we sat with Prof. Ben Nwabueze and he said that Nigeria is unbalanced and that Lord Lugard made a mistake by the amalgamation. The North has always dominated and that is why they asked for the national conference in 2014.”

Abdullahi maintained that “such clamouring is not new. It has always been an antecedent of the South whenever a Northerner is in charge of leadership. Things that were happening since 1999 to 2006 were ‘tazarce’ (meaning con­tinuity in Hausa language) and 2015 when a party agreed that the Presidency should rotate, and that was the beginning of what we saw.

“Since assumption of North­ern leadership, we have witnessed demands like they always occur whenever a northerner takes over leadership”.

North not afraid of restruc­turing – Tambuwal

Also at the event, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambu­wal said that the North was not against restructuring.

He said that like other Nigeri­ans, the North believes in restruc­turing.

He however said that any de­cision on restructuring the coun­try must be inclusive and follow due process.

He said: “I am sure that at the end of the day, we shall all be bet­ter informed about the kind of re­structuring we need in Nigeria and the way the North can best benefit from any such arrangement.

“As a country, we must look to the future and agree on what in the long-run will benefit us all. We all want a country where there is peace and progress, where justice is a given, where all lives are safe and people can pursue their legitimate livelihoods wherever they choose.

“The idea that the North is against restructuring because it benefits most from the current state of things is circumscribed and patently false.

“Let us be clear: the North wants restructuring as much as an­yone else. However, as a people, we do not easily jump unto the band­wagon because we are always there for the long haul”.

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasiru el-Rufai, said that “the North is the elder broth­er in the present arrangement, as such while we articulate our posi­tion, we must present it in a dif­ferent manner from the way oth­er regions do, as far as this issue of restructuring is concern.

“I have seen regions that are militant about it and don’t seem to understand the need to come to­gether in a very humongous and amicable way to arrive at what is best for this nation.

“The North has been a lead­er; I believe it must remain a lead­er. While the various regions carry their regional flags, it is the respon­sibility of the North to carry the na­tional flag all along the debate from here to the end”.

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