The Elders group from the North known as the Northern Elders Forum NEF on Wednesday distanced itself from the comments credited to Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State that selfish Northern leaders were opposing the restructuring of Nigeria.
The NEF said the governor could not have been referring to its leadership under Prof. Ango Abdullahi because it had campaigned restructuring more openly and more vigorously than any group or interest in the country.
Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who is the group’s Director, Publicity and Advocacy, disclosed these in an interview.
El-Rufai had during a session at the 26th National Economic Summit said Northerners kicking against calls for the restructuring of Nigeria were not speaking for the North.
But in his reaction, Baba-Ahmed said, “The Governor of Kaduna State could not have been referring to Northern Elders Forum under the leadership of Prof. Ango Abdullahi. Our Forum has campaigned for restructuring more openly and more vigorously than any group or interest in the country.
“There are records of many statements made by the Forum or in conjunction with other groups in support of the imperative for restructuring as a vital requirement for the survival of our country as a united, functional, and just entity.
“We believe the North will be a major beneficiary of major changes in the manner our federal system is designed and functions.
“We do not know of any serious northern group that is against restructuring. If there are such groups, they must be speaking to the Governor in private, and they certainly do not represent the interests of the North.”