The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) have announced their readiness to join the ongoing discussion on restructuring Nigeria or supporting secession of South East.
The group said claims by South East leaders that they are sabotaging efforts to restructure the nation is untrue and that South East leaders are likely feeding on assumption.
Voice of Ndigbo learnt that this statement was made by the spokesperson of NEF, Professor Ango Abdullahi during an interview with The Sun newspaper.
Abdullahi said: “You see the issue of restructuring is one of the fundamental issues that shape Nigerian history from 1914 up to 1960.
“In fact, we are not aware of any sabotage, may be the South East leaders were working on assumption.
“But if restructuring will save Nigeria, I think it is a matter that affects every Nigerian including those in the North and we are ready to engage in it to correct the anomalies in Nigeria starting from 1914.”
While reacting to the agitation in the South East for Biafra, Abdullahi said: “You see, the issue of Biafra is all part of the discussion of restructuring Nigeria.”
“Yes, if Biafra means negotiations, yes, it’s all a matter of discussion, if it means Igbo want to have a country of their own separate from Nigeria, it means a matter of discussion and we are prepared for the discussion.
“This is all I have been saying that if Nigerians are tired of staying together, they should be prepared to accept divisions instead of remaining in agony and disappointment of one another.
“You see, what I am saying is that every Nigerian should be able to speak his opinion about the state of the country, and the country has laws.
“If it is discovered that the law of a country is violated, that some somebody has gone beyond his fundamental rights, the law is very clear on this.
“What perhaps government is concerned about is that violence was part of Kanu’s agitation, to realize his dream by force, I think that is what government is trying to tackle to my understanding.
“So if Kanu is talking about Biafra, he is free to talk about Biafra and everybody is free to talk about his understanding of the Nigerian state.
“We are always talking that the Nigerian state is not working and how can we make it to work? And if the best option, is to call for separate countries, why not?
“Well, if you read our communiqué in Kano recently, we categorically stated that the Northern Elders Forum is prepared to engage in any discussion with any group that is supporting restructuring of Nigeria, so, this means that we are fully supporting restructuring.”
Meanwhile, in the event that President Muhammau Buhari’s failing health prevents him from seeking re-election in 2019, elders from the north insist that the region must retain the presidency.
Speaking through Abdullahi, the elders saaid the region must be allowed to field a presidential candidate through the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.
Abdullahi was quoted to have said that in such a situation, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo should be allowed to complete the term of office till 2019 as stipulated by the constitution.