Northern Elders Forum, NEF, spokesman, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, has said that the north is ready to go their way if Nigeria decides to break up. He was reacting to accusation by the South East leaders that the Northern Elders were sabotaging efforts to restructure the country.
Abdullahi said the North is not aware of any sabotage, adding that there is nothing wrong in Igbo people asking to have a country of theirs. He further stated that if Nigerians are tired of staying as an entity, they should be ready to go their separate ways.
Abdullahi told journalists, “You see, the issue of restructuring is one of the fundamental issues that shape Nigerian history from 1914 up to 1960. In fact, we are not aware of any sabotage; maybe the South East leaders were working on assumption.
“But if restructuring will save Nigeria, I think it is a matter that affects every Nigerian, including those in the North, and we are ready to engage in it to correct the anomalies in Nigeria, starting from 1914.”
On the agitation by some Igbo groups for the creation of Biafra Republic, he added, “You see, the issue of Biafra is all part of the discussion of restructuring Nigeria. Yes, if Biafra means negotiations, yes, it’s all a matter of discussion. If it means Igbo want to have a country of their own separate from Nigeria, it means a matter of discussion and we are prepared for the discussion.
“This is all I have been saying that if Nigerians are tired of staying together, they should be prepared to accept divisions instead of remaining in agony and disappointment of one another. You see, what I am saying is that every Nigerian should be able to speak his opinion about the state of the country, and the country has laws.
“If it is discovered that the law of a country is violated, that some somebody has gone beyond his fundamental rights, the law is very clear on this. What perhaps government is concerned about is that violence was part of Kanu’s agitation – to realize his dream by force. I think that is what government is trying to tackle, to my understanding.
“So, if Kanu is talking about Biafra, he is free to talk about Biafra and everybody is free to talk about his understanding of the Nigerian state. We are always talking that the Nigerian state is not working and how can we make it to work? And, if the best option is to call for separate countries, why not?
“Well, if you read our communiqué in Kano recently, we categorically stated that the Northern Elders Forum is prepared to engage in any discussion with any group that is supporting restructuring of Nigeria; so, this means that we are fully supporting it.”