Afenifere carpets northern elders over opposition to restructuring

Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, has said building “a Nigeria of our dreams will be a difficult task for as long as northerners remain fixated about its region and people.”The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said this in an interview with THE PUNCH, on Sunday.He was reacting to a pronouncement by the Northern Elders Forum that the North would neither be blackmailed nor intimidated into accepting restructuring of Nigeria.The NEF Director (Publicity and Advocacy), Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, had in an earlier statement issued after its meeting to review the #EndSARS protests and the Federal Government’s response, said NEF was aware of attempts to weaken the North by interests that believe that weakening the North was their only path to success in the 2023 elections.But Odumakin said the group’s position had validated the points by retrogressive that the call for restructuring had become a waste of time.He said, “We notice also their attacks on those calling for restructuring and the not so disguised threats.“We keep telling them that restructuring is the cheapest of all the options for us. But we can’t say at this point that we are not dealing with difficult compatriots. We do not know when and how we can build a common country if we are fixated only on our regions and people and only remember we are all Nigerians when we want to share oil and gas proceeds plus VAT returns.“Lastly, nobody is forcing a vision of their own future on the North. All we are asking for is a return to the past we negotiated towards independence which is federalism.“We want every section to run its life according to its civilisation and put the centre that binds us as a clearing house and not a weight or burden any section. We insist on this to avert the historical tragedies of many disappeared empires.“Our friends in NEF got us worried in not seeing anything wrong with the heavy presence of federal appointees at the Kaduna Northern meeting. They somehow endorsed it and their only quarrel is that it was not far reaching enough on northern interests.”

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