Presidency whacks Northern elders for ‘asking a section to leave’


By Mathew Dadiya, Abuja

Presidency has slammed the Northern Elders for threatening a section of the country to exit the federation, saying the group has no right to make such a demand.

“We are aware of the latest statement from the so-called “Northern Elders Forum,” and we wish to reassure Nigerians that it remains their democratically elected leadership which takes the decisions that steer our nation – and no one else,” it said.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement yesterday by his spokesman, Garba Shehu, asked, “Who gave them the right to ask for the exclusion, or expulsion of anyone, group or section of the country from the Federal Republic of Nigeria?”

No self-appointed and unelected group can take this right from Nigerians – no matter how much coverage they might enjoy in the media. Nigerians listen to elected leaders, not opinionated tin-gods who have no traction with any responsible group.

It is a delusional arrogance that would lead such a group to publicly state terms and conditions for the existence of our nation, it said.

“The Nigerian government does not take guidance or invitations from such groups – only from the Nigerian people who put governments in office.

According to the Presidency, any group can refer to themselves as “leaders”, but in Nigeria, if you have not been elected by Nigerians to a leadership role, then you are not – and the government certainly doesn’t recognise you as such.

“Like many other countries around the world, Nigeria is feeling the strain of the current period of volatility and uncertainty. Now is not the time to seek to exacerbate divisions amongst Nigerians. Rather, we call on all Nigerians to come together and work to overcome the challenges we face as one nation, one people”, it added.

Recall in October 2021, a group of Northern elders asked the Abuja division of the Federal High Court to compel the National Assembly to hasten the exit of the South East region from the Federal Republic of Nigeria before concluding the ongoing constitutional amendment.

They averred in a supporting affidavit that their action was informed by the need to stem the tide of violence and destruction being allegedly occasioned by the agitation for secession championed by the Nnamdi Kanu-led IPOB.