…As Unongo counters Ango Abdullahi
All is not be well within the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) with discordant tunes emerging over the three months ultimatum by the Arewa Youth organizations’a coalition asking the Ibos to quit Northern Nigerian on or before October 1, 2017.
NEF Deputy Leader, Elder Paul Unongo is angry that the Forum’s spokesperson, Prof Ango Abdullahi could go over and above its leaders to support for people he described as “ignorant youths” out to ‘insult our intelligence’.
According to the veteran politician, by his recent utterances, Abdullahi, who was Special Adviser to former President Obasanjo, has lost it because such position is completely at variance with the Forum’s thinking as a body of elder statesmen and patriotic Nigerians.
Unongo therefore declared that the ex-vice-chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria has missed it as his support for the so-called Arewa youths coalition remains a personal view and not representative of the NEF.
He said NEF could not have adopted the position of an uninformed youths’ coalition that cannot comprehend the trauma of Nigeria losing over three million citizens during the civil war to keep the country united in 1970.
Chief Unongo, who currently chairs the board of Nigerian Educational Research & Development Council (NERDC), said, “I am the Deputy Leader of the Northern Elders Forum and Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Sule is the leader. So, only the two of us can speak for the forum on sensitive matter like this. Therefore, if Professor Ango Abdullahi is backing those ignorant youths, then he is speaking for himself.”
The angry NEF Chief further stated that, “We cannot support the nonsense those boys said. We fought civil war with our blood to keep Nigeria one. So, any Nigerian can live in any part of the country he feels like. Igbos are welcome in the North, they are welcome in Yoruba land and my own village in Tiv land and they have right to pursue their daily bread and own property.
“We couldn’t have killed three million people to keep Nigeria one and come back and allow these kids (the Northern Youth Groups) to insult our intelligence. We knew why we fought the war, we knew why we killed the people we loved.
“We knew why we made the sacrifice of three million men dead. So, Northern Elders Forum cannot take same position as those young men, if at all they took a position.”
Taking further swipe at the youth coalition and other dissident groups singing separation songs across the country, the former Deputy Governor of Benue State warned thus: “So, if the young men cannot build a nation, they should not destroy the one we put our lives on the line to build for them. We cannot allow young men who did not fight the civil war with us to destroy our country, because Nigeria cannot afford another civil war.”