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Minister Lambasts Northern Elders Over Comment On Tinubu’s Govt, Says They’re Political Paperweight | Citizen NewsNG

ByCitizen NewsNG

Apr 13, 2024

 

The Minister of State for Defense, Bello Matawalle has said that members of Northern Elders Forum (NEF) lack the authority

to speak for the entire region, noting that they have become a political burden to Northerners.

The NEF recently said it regretted supporting President Bola Tinubu in the 2023 general election.

 

The forum had said it would prioritise someone who is seen as “more inclusive, less controversial, and more aligned with the interests of all regions of the country”.

 

Reacting to the statement, Matawalle in a press statement on Saturday described NEF as a more or less political paperweight trying to embark on a destructive journey that will bring the North to disrepute for the group’s personal and selfish gains.

 

He said, “My attention has been drawn to the threats issued by the Northern Elders Forum against President Bola Tinubu, which is ‘reprehensible and naive’. It is preposterous for a group of people seeking political relevance to overburden the system and create political disunity among Nigerians.

 

“The so-called NEF is more or less a political paperweight trying to embark on a destructive journey that will bring the North to disrepute for the group’s personal and selfish gains.

 

“This NEF is more of a political burden to Northerners. The group is seeking to erode other people’s rights in order to be recognised or made relevant in the scheme of things despite the failure of their sponsored candidates in the 2023 general elections.

 

“In as much as many have overlooked them in respect of their utterances, it is pertinent to underscore their overbearing attitude on issues that affect political unity and cohesion. They can not offer any positive idea or thought about the future of Northern Nigeria or, indeed, of Nigeria and its unity and togetherness.”

 

He noted that the NEF are in no position to undermine nor threaten to unseat the president.

 

The statement added, “We all know President Bola Tinubu won the February 2023 presidential election convincingly. So, who is the NEF to want to undermine the president’s victory and even threaten to unseat him?

 

“This same group of people have intentionally shied away from their responsibility of engendering unity in the North by appreciating the incremental development being brought to the North by ministers appointed by President Tinubu from the North, especially the North West.

 

“The NEF has not deemed it fit to seek an audience with Mr President to discuss issues affecting the Northern region despite the numerous challenges facing the North as rightly highlighted by the President and being addressed by him.

 

“The group has yet to visit any of the ministers dealing with issues of security, agriculture, water resources, police affairs, education, health, budget, foreign affairs, or any head of security agencies in the country so far for first-hand knowledge of government programmes and actions.

 

“The majority of them are more interested in faulting the government so as to be recognised or accorded some relevance. Our region, the North, is united, disciplined and politically driven enough not to listen and accept being teleguided by any group of elites who had fed fat in the past on the North’s resources and opportunities which had retarded development in the region and nation due to their selfishness.

 

“President Tinubu is poised to do a lot for the North as President of Nigeria, elected by the people of Nigeria, not by one ethnic group or the other, therefore, anyone mistakenly seeing President Tinubu as a failure or a weakling is making a mistake and should rethink.

 

“Such a person or group is either blind or misguided and unable to see the new Nigeria that is emerging. Therefore, the NEF’s statement allegedly expressing regret for voting for President Tinubu is unfortunate. NEF is not more than a group that has refused to accept reality and is living in delusion.

 

“The truth is that the North is proud of its support and vote for President Tinubu and will continue to be proud of her relationship with the President given the enormous change and development his government has brought to the region.”

 

Matawalle urged the NEF to prioritise unity and cooperation within the North to support Tinubu’s presidency and work towards a strong and prosperous future for Nigeria.

 

He encouraged the NEF members to reconsider their stance and focus on common goals rather than creating divisions within the region.

 

“My advice to NEF and others alike is to support the present government and join hands with President Tinubu in order to further move the country forward,” he concluded.

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