Prof Ango Abdullahi -spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum, a think-tank for the 19 Northern states, has said that the north is ready if Nigeria decides to break up.
In an interview with Sunday Sun, Ango, a politician, professor of Agronomy, one-time Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University who attended four constitutional conferences in Nigeria threw a challenge to those who think that the North is afraid of Nigeria’s disintegration into more basic constituents, saying the North was ever ready for the dissolution and that the way to go about it was through the calling of a formal meeting with complete powers to terminate the legal relationships between the constituent parts in Nigeria.
According to him, If we agree that we should live together as a people and as a country, so be it, but if the general consensus is that Nigerians want to go their separate ways either on the basis of ethnicity, culture, history or religion, why not; why not, adding, “if anybody tells you that the large informed opinion in the North is against the dissolution of Nigeria, he is telling you lies.”
Reacting to a question on the readiness of the North for a dissolution, the agronomist, replied: “Absolutely, absolutely, we are. It all depends on the selfish way people want to negotiate.
I am 78 now and I also went to the only university in the country at the time in Ibadan. Nobody can tell me about the history of this country.
I know a lot about it because I was very much awake and a grown up person to know what happened.
“The people who argued for the creation of states in 1966/67 are the same people today who are asking for the restructuring of Nigeria with particular preference for regional arrangements.
The South-west wants preferably a region, a region that was at one time under the leadership of Chief Awolowo, unless, of course, you are trying to ignore all the writings, all the things that had been written, particularly in their declaration called DAWN, Development Agenda for Western Nigeria, then you can ignore this.”
He further noted that “Biafrans who are saying the same thing. Chief Ekwueme is my respected leader.
“He was in the 1995/96 conference. In fact, he led the Igbo socio-cultural group to the conference and their proposal in that conference was for Nigeria to become a confederate unit. And of course, at that time, perhaps, there was still the feeling that some hopes still remain that Nigeria should paddle along and perhaps they will overcome some of these differences.
His proposal for confederate arrangement was defeated in the conference. I was there. But when he got the opportunity to review the report of the conference, a committee was set up to look at the report of the conference.
He was the one who really worked for these so-called geo-political areas that is totally unconstitutional.
They are not part of our constitution and this is one of the mistakes that the country is going through. Geo-political zones are not units in our constitutional arrangements.
They are selfish conveniences of people who are perhaps clamouring for political positions, elective or otherwise, that are operating today to the detriment of good governance in this country.”
Prof Ango Abdullahi further reacted to why the North is ready for dissolution, speaking on the indices, he said: “The biggest indices other Nigerians do not want Nigeria; so I don’t see why the North should insist on having Nigeria. That is the biggest index I have. And this is on the basis of the recent statements.
The Nigerian elite are the ones undermining the existence of the country and as long as they remain in the fore-front as elite and politicians, so long as we are going to have problems, so long will Nigeria not have the rapid development that we had hoped to when we got independence in 1960.”
He noted that there are statements hinting strongly at the dissolution. He said: “The Nwabuezes of this world. We sat with him a number of times, we argued, he is vehemently anti-North, anti-Hausa/Fulani. I spoke to him and he cannot deny this.”
Speaking on restructuring, he said: “Which restructuring? What restructuring do you want? Initially, there was a bloc country broken into regions.
The regions were broken into states and today, there are 774 local governments, mainly in pursuance of so-called grassroots participation in government. What else is there?
The only thing that we have not had…we had constitutional conferences so many of them. We had all these creation of states, which we were not able to do as civilians and we only waited for the military to come and do them and still people are saying that they are not satisfied with the structure as it is in Nigeria.”