Northern Elders Council endorse Jonathan administration; ‘they’re political prostitutes’ – Junaid
A new group known as the Northern Elders Council (NEC) has endorsed support for the Goodluck Jonathan administration, and caused the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) opposition to become less prominent.
The NEC which is led by Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, was innaugurated in Kaduna recently by the Governor of the State, Mr. Mukhtar Yero.
The group comprises former ministers, lawmakers, and businessmen. It includes billionaire businessman, Alhaji Hassan Adamu, Wakilin Adamawa, former Senator Muktar Aruwa among others.
Speaking at the inauguration, Yakassi said, “We reject intimidation, threat and violence. Leaders and elders must lead by example. It is unacceptable for elders to make inciting and inflammatory statements capable of breaching the peace. We say no to war-like and belligerent posture.
“Let me reiterate that the purpose for the establishment of NEC is to protect the socio-economic and political interest of the north, the corporate existence and stability of the Nigerian nation.
“We are firm and committed to the Nigerian project, we recognise the significance of Nigeria’s centenary as a political entity and call on all Nigerians to serve as agents of consolidation of national unity and continued existence of our nation as one indivisible country.
“The Northern Elders Council acknowledges the current spate of violence and insurgency in the North, armed robbery and kidnapping in the other parts of the country and we urged all men and women of good will to act in concert to eradicate these menace and stabilise the polity.
“The Northern Elders Council applauds the excellent working relationship with between the President Goodluck Jonathan and his vice, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, as the political leader of the north. Namadi Sambo has shown total loyalty and dedication to Mr. President and we urged them to continue work together in harmony in the interest of our nation,” Yakasai said.
“Distinguished invited guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is to resolve some of the contending issues in the polity that His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan has decided to convene a national conference, where representatives of all segments of the country are to suggest a way forward for the country. This move by the President is commendable as it will provide an opportunity for stakeholders to review the existing situations in the country and to agree on better ways of steering the ship of the nation.”
“I therefore urge this group to collaborate with other groups within the region, towards articulating a common position at the confab. As the major component unit of the country, the North cannot afford to stay away from an opportunity to discuss the future of Nigeria.
“Our elders owe us the duty of availing the country their wealth of experiences, especially on ways to return the country to the path of peace, stability and prosperity, which they enjoyed as youths.
“The time to rebuild Nigeria is now and we must all make sacrifices to ensure that we contribute our quota,” he said.
Governor Yero subscribed to the ideals of the group, saying “I salute the courage of our elders in forming this eminent group and I declare my absolute support to the ideals of the Northern Elders Council”.
Among those who graced the occasion were chairman of NEC, Mr John Manklin; Senator Mitama Yusuf; Ambassador Ladan Shuni; Senator Mohammed Alkali; Chief Margaret Ichen; Dr Jonah; Ambassador Abdullahi Shinkafi; Senator Ahmed Aruwa; Ambassador Hassan Adamu; Alhaji Gambo Lawan; Senator Hamisu Musa; Senator Saidu Umar Kumo; Colonel Bala Mande; Rt.Honourable Benjamin Shafa and Senator Idris Haliru.
Others were Alhaji Idris Haliru; Alhaji Ayinla Folorunsho; Mrs Dorcas; Alhaji Ibraim Biyo; Alhaji Yusuf Gumel and Senator Paul Wampana.
However Junaid Mohammed, spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum lambasted the group, calling them political prostitutes. He said they would be irrelevant in the scheme of things as 2015 approaches.