A day after president Goodluck Jonathan described some Nigerian elders as touts, Northern Elders Forum (NEF) yesterday hit back at him, saying most sitting leaders today are worse than pickpockets in motor parks.
The group which described itself as a northern political pressure group disclosed this through its spokesperson, Professor Ango Abdullahi at a press conference in Kaduna.
According to him, such abusive comments against elders who fought for the unity of the country was un- called for. Professor Abdullahi also attacked Alhaji Tanko Yakasai led Northern Elders Council (NEC) group, describing them as people who lack principle and are only interested in themselves rather than their people
He said Alhaji Tanko Yakasai and his members are not speaking for ordinary Nigerians, particularly northerners. The former Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Vice Chancellor said, NEF is more focused and committed to the political well-being of Northerners and Nigerians in general.
“President Jonathan should know that, in a motor park, there are touts and there are pick-pockets, so if some past leaders are touts, some sitting leaders are pick-pockets and thieves. So, you have to make your pick from that.
“This country is complaining about corruption and the President himself has said that, stealing is a small corruption. And so, for him to even come around and refer to some people as touts, he should remember that, some of them sitting there are pick-pockets and some of them are even worse than pick-pockets.”
Pick-pockets in a motor park cheat the passengers as well as the owner of the vehicles, while the touts do some works for a commission. So, you see, these are some of the things that are clearly pointing to the fact that, the incompetence that we have been complaining about is the additional basis of rejecting the man’s leadership in 2015, it is now clearly showing across the country
“It used to be Northern Elders Forum who are seen as partisan, sectional, divisive and so on. Whenever we say something, it was misconstrued as outright opposition against the government or against the President, because we are not and we are not President at the moment, but thank God, the truth will always be one
“People across the country today seem to have agreed that, this is an incompetent government that is about to wreck or completely ruin this country, and sooner Nigerians come to grips with this, the better
“Jonathan may disagree with Obasanjo, he is one of our leaders that come out to say things the way they are. You can criticise him on what he has done or what he has not been able to do, but he should also be seen as he has always been since 1979 since I knew him.
“This is a man that has been saying things as he has seen them. It is only very recently, some well-meaning Nigerians like him have come to agree that, the country is been put in the wrong direction under the leadership of the current administration
“Obviously, one would have expected, like we saw in the recent visit of the so called Northern Elders Council, led by I understand Alhaji Tanko
Yakasai we have said this before, what is Northern Elders Council? Who are they? Who do they speak for? But, we speak for Nigerians, but more so for Northern Nigerians,” he said
Professor Ango also added that their group did not hide the fact that, they are out to protect the interest of Northern Nigerians at any stage, without sacrificing the rights of other Nigerians elsewhere under any guise.
On the next presidential election, he said the group will no doubt support any candidate of northern extraction and since APC candidate, General Mohammadu Buhari is from the north, NEF will surely support his candidature since PDP failed to give a northerner their presidential ticket.
He called on Nigerians to come out en masse to booth out the ruling party because of their injustice to Nigerians.