Your attack against president reprehensible, naive – Former Zamfara governor  Your threat empty, ill-fated – Northern coalition


From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

Former Zamfara State governor and Minister of State, Defence, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, and the Coalition of Concerned Northern Groups (CCNG) have lampooned Arewa elders under the aegis of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) for attacking President Bola Tinubu ahead of the 2027 presidential election.

NEF’s spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in a recent media interview on state of the nation, said that the Northern region regretted voting Tinubu into power, adding that the region would not vote for him again in the 2027 elections.

Consequently, an ostensibly angry Matawalle said that the NEF attack against Tinubu was ‘reprehensible and naive’ while CCNG said the elders were unfair to the president.

Hear Matawalle: “It is preposterous for a group of people seeking political relevance to overburden the system and create political disunity among Nigerians.

“The so-called NEF is more or less a political paperweight trying to embark on a destructive journey that will bring the North to disrepute for the group’s personal and selfish gains.

“This NEF is more of a political burden to Northerners. The group is seeking to erode other people’s rights in order to be recognised or made relevant in the scheme of things despite the failure of their sponsored candidates in the 2023 general elections.”

The former Zamfara governor said that inasmuch as many have overlooked the elders in respect of their utterances, it was pertinent to underscore their over-bearing attitude on issues that affect political unity and cohesion.

He insisted that they cannot offer any positive idea or thought about the future of Northern Nigeria or, indeed, Nigeria and its unity and togetherness.

He pointed out that President Tinubu won the February 2023 presidential election convincingly.

“So, who is the NEF to want to undermine the president’s victory and even threaten to unseat him?

“This same group of people has intentionally shied away from their responsibility of engendering unity in the North by appreciating the incremental development being brought to the North by ministers appointed by President Tinubu from the North, especially Northwest,” he said.

The minister noted that NEF has not deemed it fit to seek audience with President Tinubu to discuss issues affecting the Northern region despite the numerous challenges facing the North as rightly highlighted by Tinubu and being addressed by him.

“The group is yet to visit any of the ministers dealing with issues of security, agriculture, water resources, police affairs, education, health, budget, foreign affairs, or any head of security agencies in the country so far for first hand knowledge of government programmes and actions.

“The majority of them are more interested in faulting the government so as to be recognised or accorded some relevance.

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“Our region, the North, is united, disciplined and politically-driven enough not to listen and accept being teleguided by any group of elite who had fed fat in the past on the North’s resources and opportunities which had retarded development in the region and nation due to their selfishness.

“President Tinubu is poised to do a lot for the North as President of Nigeria, elected by the people of Nigeria, not by one ethnic group or the other, therefore, anyone mistakenly seeing President Tinubu as a failure or a weakling is making a mistake and should rethink.

“Such a person or group is either blind or misguided and unable to see the new Nigeria that is emerging.

“Therefore, the NEF’s statement allegedly expressing regret for voting for President Tinubu is unfortunate.

“NEF is not more than a group that has refused to accept reality and is living in delusion,” he said.

The minister said that the truth was that the North is proud of its support and vote for President Tinubu and would continue to be proud of its relationship with the president given the enormous change and development his government has brought to the region.

He, therefore, advised NEF and others to support the present government and join hands with President Tinubu in order to further move the country forward.

Similarly, the Coalition of Concerned Northern Groups (CCNG) condemned the NEF’s threat.

CCNG President, Muhammad Ibrahim, in a statement, described the NEF threat as empty, ill-fated, and wrongly aimed at painting the good intentions of President Tinubu in the eyes of the public.

“We wish to draw the attention of the NEF that it is a very unwise move for it to engage in such a slander especially now that the hard work of the president is seen by Nigerians to be manifesting practically.

“It baffles us that the NEF was silent when the former President Muhammadu Buhari regime killed hundreds  of innocent men, women and children when it clamped down on Shi’ites members in Zaria, Kaduna State in 2015. Were they not northerners that were murdered in an extrajudicial manner?

“Was it not during the Buhari regime that the banditry became more prominent in the Northwest, a situation that has virtually killed the farming occupation in the region and destroyed lives and property. Yet the NEF never rose against that.

“We are hardly two years into this regime which started on a very difficult footing with many things to be put aright after being detracted by the immediate past regime. Hence, it will be un-elderly of an elders’ forum to demonize this regime instead of giving it the benefit of doubt.

“Reviewing the NEF claims that they mobilized the North in favour of President Tinubu, even as his major contender, Atiku Abubakar was a northerner, cannot be substantiated because they have no such influence over the electorate in the region.

“In comparison with the Buhari regime, the NEF is not fair to President Tinubu who is currently enjoying the goodwill of Nigerians because of his commitment to national development and progress.

“We wish to state categorically that the CCNG, a coalition of concerned Northern groups, is passing a vote of confidence in President Bola Ahmad Tinubu while calling on the NEF to reconsider its stance in the interest of the North and the northerners,” the coalition said.