By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), on Thursday, lambasted members of Igbo Elders’ Consultative Forum (IECF) and other groups clamouring for the emergence of a president of South-East extraction, saying they are going about their agitation in a wrong manner.
The CNG alleged that the Igbo elders constituted a serious security threat to the country, adding that their recent warning that any attempt to elude the South-East geopolitical zone of the presidency in 2023 would rupture Nigeria’s corporate existence betrayed their desperation.
The Northern Coalition, therefore, called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of IECF members led by former Anambra governor, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, for threatening the nation, its institutions and the people.
CNG Spokesman, Abdulazeez Suleiman, while addressing journalists in Abuja, also knocked other Igbo leaders who, according to him, are thirsty for the zone to produce Nigeria’s next President for allegedly seeking to tamper with the nation’s criminal justice system by pressuring for the unconditional release of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
It would be recalled that there have been intense political posturing, permutations and fireworks, especially as the eight-year tenure of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is from the North-West, winds down.
However, the clamour for an Igbo President has since resonated with some 18 months to the general elections, especially as the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, has been consistent in its demand for an Igbo President in 2023.
But the CNG argued that the continued resort to attacks on agents and symbols of the Federal Government of Nigeria in the South-East have deepened the fears that the Igbo cannot and should never be trusted with presidential power and rendered their renewed desperation for the Igbo presidency suspect.
Suleiman said, “The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), has taken stock of events in Nigeria, particularly in the past few months when our democracy, political unity and national security have come under serious scrutiny, noting especially, the unrelenting violent disturbances created around certain interests of the Igbo people.
“This is confirmed by the utterances and actions of such Igbo leaders as the former Governor of Anambra State and Chairman of the Igbo Elders Consultative Forum, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, when he threatened the continued existence of Nigeria during a condolence visit paid to him by Igbo leaders of thought and traditional rulers on April 5, 2022.
“Similarly, groups of Igbo leaders and elders have engaged in desperate covert and overt efforts to secure the unconditional release of Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the IPOB terror group standing trial for crimes against the state.
“As if these were not enough, same group of Igbo elders again recklessly issued a national security threat on May 4, 2022, that any attempt to elude the zone of the presidency in 2023 may rupture the existence of Nigeria as a corporate entity as well as aggravate crisis, conflicts, separatist demands and others.
The CNG observes that the perpetrators of this senseless violence are relentlessly pursuing the agenda of destruction and collective mayhem, fervently hoping it will engulf the entire country and bring about another civil war and mass killings.
“This has deepened the fears that the Igbo cannot and should never be trusted with presidential power and rendered their renewed desperation for the Igbo presidency suspect.
“The foregoing observations have made it impossible for us to remain indifferent or silent in the face of such extreme provocations and insistent drive towards civil strife.
“In the present circumstance, the CNG hereby declares the following definite stand: To declare that the Igbo as a people have by their serial atrocious actions inadvertently foreclosed every hope for the rest of us to continue coexisting with them as one nation.
“To demand the immediate arrest and prosecution of all the Igbo leaders and elders involved in the desperation to tamper with the nation’s criminal justice system by pressuring for the unconditional release of terrorist leaders.
“To demand the arrest and prosecution of all the Igbo leaders that openly threaten national security and corporate existence of the Nigerian nation in desperation for an Igbo presidency.
“To take every political and legal measure to frustrate and resist the dangerous Igbo scheme to secure Nigeria’s presidency in 2023 or anytime in the future, including: warning any northern politician against picking any Igbo man from whatever part of Nigeria as running mate, and mobilising the North against supporting, participating, in or, in anyway romancing with any political party that fields a candidate of the South East or has any Igbo politician in a position of prominence.
“To demand immediate resort to available decent and civilized means for the actualization of the final separation of the South-East from the rest of Nigeria in order to avoid the mishaps intended by the Igbo’s evil plans and avert unnecessary devastation on the entire country.
“To demand relevant Nigerian authorities and international agencies to step in and support the pending court process seeking for a referendum that will finally separate the South East from Nigeria to prevent a descent into another civil war at this day and age, as well as forestall the mass killings, untold sufferings and atrocities intended by the Igbo.”
Suleiman, however, maintained that the CNG would remain committed to the search for a Nigerian leader with the capacity, competence and credibility to be trusted and accepted by all Nigerians irrespective of his tribe, religious calling or regional background except of course, the Igbo and the South-East.
“The CNG also recommits to the pursuit of a legal framework for the conduct and implementation of a general referendum to determine the status of the South-East or any enclave that wishes for self determination from Nigeria,” he added