By AbdulSalam Muhammad

KANO—The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, yesterday cautioned the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, to be wary of mischievous elements plotting to overheat the polity due to the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari to score dubious political points.

Ag. President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo with Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika; Emir of Katsina Abdulmumin Kabir Usman; and Governor of Katsina State Hon. Aminu Bello Masari (L-R) during his visit in Katsina today. Photo: Novo Isioro.

In a communiqué issued after its two-day emergency meeting in Kano, the Northern Elders Forum warned those seeking undeserved political advantage to desist from such moves.

The communique read by the NEF Deputy Chairman, Chief Paul Unongo, stated that the “North is conscious of its obligations and rights and will not hesitate to discharge and defend them without reservations.”

The communiqué, which was jointly signed by forum spokesman, Professor Ango Abdullahi, and Deputy Leader, Chief Wantaregh, Paul Unongo, further stated:  “We are aware that attempts are being made to exploit the absence of President Buhari to achieve dubious political goals.”

The Forum therefore advised Acting President Osinbajo to, “exercise responsibilities, as he did in the past, with commitment, sensitivity, and respect for the constitution. We urge him to ignore mischief which seeks to pitch him against the president or the Nigerian people whose mandates they both exercise.”

The communiqué noted that, “the task of governing the nation will continue uninterrupted until the return of President Buhari. We therefore appeal to all persons with responsibility to cooperate fully to sustain a united, focused and committed administration.

“While commending the sterling contributions of Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara in providing the necessary leadership to stabilize the polity, we appeal to the executive and legislative arms of government to work together to pass the 2017 budget without further delay.”

The eldest forum aligned itself with the ongoing war against corruption in the country, adding that, “we also expect that the war against corruption will not suffer a setback, and current investigations and activities will not be stalled due to the absence of President Buhari.

On the clamour for restructuring, the elders Forum said the North is not afraid of the call to restructure the country, pointing out that, but warned that the call comes with sentiments, “which tend to create tensions around our coexistence as a nation that is diverse and united.

“For the record, the Forum wishes to state that the North welcomes honest and sincere discussions on all aspects of our existence, and remains available to engage any group to discuss and advance the nature of our union.”

According to the communique, Northern Elders Forum is welcoming the release of 82 Chibok girls, however, called for adequate attention to the rebuilding of the North East ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency.

The northern elders commended the leadership style of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and charged, “all persons who exercise leadership responsibilities to be sensitive to the fact that they need to work harder to reduce poverty, youth delinquency and unemployment.

“Northern governors in particular are reminded that they carry huge responsibilities to exercise mandates which expire in 2019. The Forum stands ready to assist in improving good governance and accountable leadership.”

They also prayed for the return to full health of President Muhammadu Buhari. We commend the steadfast respect for the constitution in the manner the President assigns responsibility to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo whenever it has become necessary for him to travel to seek for medical treatment.

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