From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has warned southern leaders to desist from blackmailing the North over 2023 general elections, saying that they (Southerners) have no monopoly over threats.
ACF said it would no longer accept the position of the south that every thing in which the North has superiority or advantage, in the opinion of many Southerners is fake and unacceptable.
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This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday by the Secretary of the Forum, Malam Murtala Aliyu.
“A long running political riddle that has continued to frustrate all efforts at achieving ‘justice, equity and fair-play’ is this: anything and every thing in which the North has superiority or advantage or strength is, in the opinion of many Southerners, fake or contrived or speculative and therefore unacceptable.
“These Southerners contest the facts that the North has 78% of the landmass of Nigeria. They refuse to accept that the North has over 55% of the population of Nigeria. They won’t concede that the voting population in the Northwest region of the North alone is bigger than those of the Southeast & South-south combined.
“They will never acknowledge the fact that all the beef, all the tomatoes, the onions, the beans, etc. consumed in the South, is produced in the North.
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“They concede nothing. On the contrary, they say the North brings nothing to the table and is entitled to nothing. Not to an equitable share of national revenues, not to a fair share of employment in the public services or to admissions into public schools.
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“If the law says, for example, that election outcomes must be based on one man one vote, they quickly dismiss it as an ‘imposition’ by Northerners. They contest every fact, every principle including those that formed the basis of our union such as our federation, our system of administration, our democracy, etc.
“And as we inch up towards the 2023 elections, it comes as no surprise that some Southern politicians are giving their Northern counterparts an ultimatum which roughly translates thus: elect no one from the North as President or we will break up the country! But what are the facts?
“Nigeria’s Fourth Democratic Republic is about 22 years old. Of this, Northerners ruled for only ten years. But in-spite of this, some southern politicians are furious, issuing dare warnings against the election of any Northerner as president. It has to be stated clearly and for the avoidance of any doubt that the North is not and has never been opposed to the election of any Nigerian from any part of the country as President.
“Anything that will be done to achieve that however must accord with the law and democratic principles. Gone are the days when Northerners felt blackmailed and intimidated by threats of re-structuring, secession, break up or break down of Nigeria. The North does not seek to dominate any part of the country but will not submit itself to be relegated to serfdom.
“Those issuing ultimatums are to be pitied knowing that they know not what they are doing. They own no patent nor monopoly of the art or science of ultimatums. Enough of the blackmail”.