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North must unite or perish – Sani

The National Publicity Secretary of the northern socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Mr. Anthony Z. N. Sani, has explained the circumstances that forced the forum to congratulate President Goodluck Jonathan despite its earlier stance on Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) zoning controversy. He said that the North, as region, needs reconciliation, following breakdown of law and order over the outcome of the presidential election.

The general elections have been concluded. How would you assess them?
Both local and international observers have adjudged the just-concluded elections as better than those conducted by past administrations. But it is not to suggest that there were no challenges. We believe such challenges, which resulted in some grievances, could be addressed through due process of law put in place for those purposes.

How do you see the post-election violence that erupted in most states of the North?
The post-election violence that erupted in some parts of the country were uncalled for and, therefore, not acceptable. Democracy is a contest of ideas and reasons, and certainly not a cut-throat competition. Political problems should be resolved politically and not through violence.

What are the implication of the post-election violence to the North and Nigeria in general?
The post-election violence is not helpful because it seeks to undermine constituted authority as well as community leadership. The implication is that it could be interpreted in some quarters that Nigeria is teetering at the brink of an unknown abyss. Such behavior must be stopped.

But people are of the opinion that ACF should be held responsible for the violence, going by their pro-zoning advocacy of the forum. What is your take on that?
Those who opine that the post-election violence was inspired by ACF are misinformed and, thus, misguided. This is because ACF was one of the first platforms that condemned the violence. In any case, such violence had been predicted by both local and international commentators, including the former US Ambassador, John Campbell. I, therefore, do not know whether that is a failure of intelligence or political will to nip the violence in the bud. But the situation is not beyond redemption because where there is will, there is often a way.

What made ACF to revert its earlier position on zoning by congratulating Goodluck Jonathan who you had opposed earlier?
When your paper reported ACF as having made a U-turn on zoning by congratulating both the winners and losers in the last elections, what comes to mind is that your paper is out for mischief. The elections have been conducted by a constituted authority, which has announced the results. The law of the land has provisions for those with perceived grievance to seek redress. Is ACF expected to distance itself from the elections and from those who won the elections by withholding its congratulations, whereas there is due process of law for redress? Withholding congratulations to both winners and losers is not the right thing to do in the circumstance. Moreso, 15 of the 19 northern states are controlled by the ruling party. In any case, Nigerians are the final judge through free and fair elections or referendum in any altercations between its ruling factions.

So, how do you intend to unite the region?
I have read comments in the media calling our leaders, both political and traditional rulers, names that are not their own. Such might explain why some youths took it out on some of our leaders during the recent violence. When you consider how the zoning was fought and lost, despite the advantage of number, which the North has, then you would hardly avoid the conclusion that the North, as we know it, needs recoNciliation between its leaders and the masses as well as between its geopolitical zones. If the North unites, it would be able to negotiate with other geopolitical zones from position of strength. A united one North in diversity is not a matter of option. It is a task that must be done.


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Posted by on May 7 2011. Filed under Headlines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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