Mouthpiece of Northern Nigeria, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has fired former President Olusegun Obasanjo over his recent open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
The forum, which took almost two weeks to study the letter, expressed dismay Obasanjo is always in the habit of proclaiming doomsday, predicting upheaval and bloodbath for Nigeria.
It however said the former President has no moral standing to write such letter and must apologize to Nigerians for the letter which it said was intended to cause crisis in the country.
This was as it said that, Obasanjo’s recent outburst on ‘Islamisation’, Fulanization’, and ‘Northernization’ of Nigeria were clearly calculated at causing division and acrimony along religious, ethnic and regional lines. Saying that, only enemies of the North propagate such negative narratives.
The forum at a press conference addressed by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim Biu,
after a meeting of its board members, also condemned the idea of calling every criminal in the country a Fulani, just because a Fulani man is the President, stressing that such narrative should stop going forward.
According him: “ACF is constrained to comment on the letter dated 15th July 2019 by the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari on issues he claimed are “very weighty and must be greatly worrisome to all concerned Nigerians” hence the reason he made it open.
“ACF appreciates the freedom of expression and the right to hold opinion on all issues as guaranteed by our constitution by individuals or groups, as long as it’s within the confines of the law. The Forum, therefore, believed that Chief Obasanjo used this privilege to raised the issues which mostly borders on insecurity in his latest letter,
“It must however be noted that the issues are not new to Nigerians as he had raised them in his previous open letters to the President, so also other Nigerians in different fora. All the same, in exercising our right to comment on the letter, it is our candid opinion that Chief Obasanjo being a former President and an elder statesman who has unfettered access to the President should use a better and most civilized way of communicating his views to a sitting president rather than going public to create unnecessary scene and try to bring down the roof.
“It is true that Chief Obasanjo has become relentless in his self-appointed task of a Cassandra-in- chief for Nigeria, always proclaiming doomsday, predicting upheaval and bloodbath, which to say the least has diminished his acclaimed status as a patriot and nationalist.
“As far as the ACF and indeed the North is concerned, Chief Obasanjo lacks the moral standing to make any damning statements against any government considering his antecedents while at the helm of affairs as President. His statements and comments on national issues are neither driven by altruism nor by patriotism, but sheer self aggrandizement.
“What, we must ask, motivates Chief Obasanjo’s current divisive activities? His recent outburst on ‘Islamization’, Fulanization’, and ‘Northernization’ are clearly calculated at causing division and acrimony along religious, ethnic and regional lines which is most unfortunate.
“The former President knows more than any other Nigerian that there is no such thing as Islamization or Fulanization in the North’s agenda. Enemies of the North chose to propagate such negative narratives only with the view to causing disharmony among undiscerning Nigerians. Unfortunately many, including the highly educated and politically sophisticated elites have unwittingly fallen into the trap of believing in Obasanjo and his ilk.
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“The Forum notes with sadness how the negative stereotype associated with the issue of “Fulani herdsmen” is gradually degenerating into a national crisis. We find the assertion that every crime committed in especially the southern part of the country, as being committed by Fulani herdsmen, irresponsible and deliberately aimed at achieving some certain diabolical objectives.
“The narration that every criminal, armed robbers and kidnappers are Fulani herdsmen because a Fulani man is at helm of affairs is a dangerous precedent which has to stop. Criminals must be regarded as criminals without giving them any ethnic, religious or regional coloration.”
ACF therefore called on groups and individuals who engage in such narratives to rise above such pettiness and must realize that insurgency, banditry, kidnappings and armed robbery are our common enemies. “We must join hands in finding a lasting solution to the menace” it added.
ACF also acknowledged that there is no gain saying the fact that the country is currently facing dire security challenges with its consequences, it however said that the challenges are as a result of cumulative failures of past administrations.
It noted the efforts of military, police and other security agencies in curtailing the menace of insecurity, however, it urges the government to be more decisive in dealing with these security challenges, more so that unpatriotic forces are taking advantage of the situation to forge ahead their evil agenda of destabilizing the country.
“The President, more than ever before, should rejig the nation’s security apparatus for effective performance. Furthermore, the Forum appeals to the Federal Government to employ both security and political solutions to the various challenges facing the nation” while reiterating its belief in the unity and invisibility of Nigeria. Stressing that “Our diversity in cultures, religions and tribes should be positively harnessed for the common good of all”.