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