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Published On: Thu, Feb 27th, 2014

Northern elders shun Jonathan’s confab

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  • Say Tiv/Fulani crisis contrived to oust Al-Makura

By Lawrence Olaoye

The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) yesterday declared that it would not participate in the forthcoming National Conference scheduled to start next month.

Addressing newsmen yesterday, the NEF Deputy Leader and an elder statesman, Paul Unoungo, said although his forum was in support of a national dialogue, such should be a Sovereign National Dialogue with representatives having the mandates of the people at the conference.

The NEF boss said the forthcoming conference could only be tagged an assemblage of Jonathan’s friends and his government ‘Yes men’.

He said the mode of selection of the participants suggested that only those who are friends of the President, and not the true representatives of the people, are selected to do Jonathan’s bidding.

According to him, delegates for the conference are being selected and not elected as done in similar exercise in the past. He stressed that any decision from such conference, considering the mode of selection of the delegates, would only ratify the wish of the President.

He however said the Forum would send memoranda to the conference if asked to do so.

Unoungo also said the ongoing crisis between the Tiv people of Benue state and the nomadic Fulani herdsmen is being fueled by certain politicians to create security scare for the Nasarawa state governor, Alhaji Tanko Al-makura to make the state ungovernable for him.

The forum also condemned the recent suspension of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, by President Goodluck Jonathan, for performing his constitutional whistle-blowing duties as the helmsman of the apex bank.

The NEF boss equally condemned the recent killing of over 50 students of the Federal Government College (FGC), Buni Yadi, headquarters of Gujba Local Government in Yobe state by gunmen suspected to be members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect.

Unoungo said the recent crisis between the Tiv farmers and the Fulani herdsmen in both Nasarawa and Benue state was the handiwork of those opposed to the unity of the north plotting to set the minorities against the Fulanis.

According to him, the propaganda making the rounds that the Fulanis have perfected plans to impose Islam on the Christian minorities in the north was false and an agenda sponsored by some southerners to divide the unity of the north. He however asserted that the scheme would fail.

The NEF boss said the middle belt is inseparable from the north because the people have been co-habiting for so long and would not be separated by religious politics.

He said “the tragedy of Nasarawa will shock Nigeria. There is a rumour of a planned crisis that could lead to an emergency rule being declared in Nasarawa state because they don’t like the politics of the governor. Tell Nigerians and tell the political big men that they used to do this but they are not going to get away with it. Their evil plans would be exposed”.

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