John Shiklam in Kaduna
Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) wednesday accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of deliberately attempting to cause division and acrimony along religious, ethnic and regional lines in the country.
Reacting to Obasanjo’s open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, the ACF said that the former president has continued to predict doom and bloodshed in the country, adding that his conduct was uncivilised.
The ACF made its stand known at a press conference addressed in Kaduna by its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammad Ibrahim.
“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 raise 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 civilised 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 noted that Obasanjo has turned himself into “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- aggrandisement.
“What, we must ask, motivates Chief Obasanjo’s current divisive activities?
“His recent outburst on ‘Islamisation’, Fulanisation’, and ‘Northernisation’ 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 Islamisation or Fulanisation 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.”
The ACF also frowned at the negative stereotyping of Fulani herdsmen and the deliberate and mischievous association of any criminal act to them.
“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 calls on groups and individuals who engage in such narratives to rise above such pettiness.
“We must realise that insurgency, banditry, kidnappings and armed robbery are our common enemies.
“We must join hands in finding a lasting solution to the menace.”
The forum agreed that the country is currently facing dire security challenges, but said that the challenges were the result of cumulative failures of past administrations.
It appreciated the efforts of military, police and other security agencies in curtailing the menace of insecurity.
The ACF, however, said the federal government must be more decisive in dealing with the security challenges now being exploited by unpatriotic forces to forge their evil agenda of destabilising 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.”