Former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Prof. Ango Abdullahi
By John Shiklam
Northern leaders under the aegis of Arewa Elders Forum (AEF) said Wednesday that it was not opposed to the disintegration of the Nigerian nation, if some people insist that everyone should go his separate way, maintaining that there was nothing the North was gaining from the current arrangement that other sections of the country were not getting.
Speaking in an interview with the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), a prominent member of the forum and former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABUTH), Zaria, Kaduna State, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said the region was not afraid of the agitation by southerners for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), arguing that the north can survive if the country breaks up.
Abdullahi who also served as Adviser on Food Security to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, recalled that the agitation for the SNC had been on for over two decades, saying the north had resolved not to cause the division of Nigeria.
“We know this is an old call, it’s been long for over 20 years, and they have been saying the corporate existence of the country, that the federal system is faulty. They are keen in sitting down to discuss what kind of arrangement would be conducive for Nigerians… this is an old call and it is not a new thing,…..some people are hiding under the guise of this agitation to show that they are tired of staying in a united Nigeria,”
“Therefore, we have resolved that we are not going to be the cause of Nigeria breaking up but if others decided that the country should be divided, and they insisted that Nigeria should break up, we won’t say no because we realised there is nothing we are getting in the current arrangement that other sections of the country are not getting. If they insisted, why don’t we sit down and talk?
“If at the end everybody agree that Nigeria should be divided, if at the long run, everybody is satisfied that the country should break up, let it be,” he said.
On whether the North could be able to stand on its own when the country eventually breaks up, Abdullahi explained that the North has always been on its own because the poor in the North has always been on his own.
“He (the poor) feeds himself from what he cultivates in the farms and feeds Nigeria up till tomorrow. It is possible if all Northerners would return to what their forefathers did through agriculture with which proceeds they built the North and Nigeria as a whole.
“The land is still there and the water……our forefathers built all the factories, the textiles, the oil mills in Kano, all were built from agricultural proceeds. Therefore if we returned to what we have, God has given us fertile land, we won’t lack what to do and we will surely stand on our own no matter the situation this country finds itself,” he said.