Angered by the recent boast by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Northern Nigeria will retain the presidency in 2023 because the north has the numbers to lead Nigeria in perpetuity, he Southern and Middle Belt Alliance (SaMBA) has described the comment as reckless, careless and insensitive.
The recent comment, it will be recalled, was made by the Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed at the weekend.
SaMBA made their position known in a statement signed by its spokesman; Prince Rwang Pam Jnr on Monday September 20, 2021 wondered how the Northern Elders Forum with the calibre of educated people among them can resort to boasting that the North has the population to do anything they want with power.
According to SaMBA “the era of ‘One North’ is past “Bear it in mind that many liberal minded elites in the North feel sad because the statement credited to the NEF is capable of further deepening the division in the country”.
“Let Dr Baba-Ahmed be reminded that without the Middle Belt, such numbers boasted about in the North is mere political posturing.
“It is disheartening that Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed will make such reckless and careless statement at a time when we are still battling to keep the country united.
“One would have expected that the retired Permanent Secretary with his exposure and academic prowess will choose his words carefully, but it is quite unfortunate that NEF will talk recklessly.
“It is certain that some liberal minded people in the North will be shedding secret tears as a result of the statement credited to the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), because it is based on a delusion of a ‘one north’ that has treated the middle belt region as second class citizens.
“The so called ‘north” cannot boast of numerical strength to win election without reckoning with the strength of the middle belt and other northern Christians that have decided to work with their southern Nigeria counterparts to produce fresh and effective leaders for the country.
“Rather than boasting of numerical strength to win election, NEF should look for ways to turn the numerical strength to productivity. Nigeria is presently rated as the poverty headquarters of the world because of poor standards of living in the region under the present leadership.
“We therefore urge liberal minded Northerners to work with the Southern and Middle Belt Alliance (SaMBA) to produce a new crop of leaders in 2023 with the requisite competence, character and courage to usher Nigeria into the 21st century, the group added.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.