Rising from their meeting in Kaduna with the Northern Traditional Rulers Council in Kaduna State, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) today raised the alarm that the President Goodluck Jonathan-led government is gathering arms for unknown motives ahead of the 2015 elections.
NEF also accused Jonathan of nursing a clandestine agenda in choosing to convoke a national conference. Their spokesman, Solomon Darlong told the Hausa Service of the Voice of America monitored by SaharaReporters in Abuja that they support only a Sovereign National Conference whose outcome will uphold and determine the corporate existence of Nigeria.
Darlong also said that the North is being short-changed and victimized in the federal civil service as it accounts for only16 percent of the total workforce.
"We are against injustice meted out against us, we are against divisive politics being played to divide Northerners so as to win elections. We are also against relocation of sophisticated weapons to Southern parts of the country,” he said.
"We will also not tolerate division in religion and ethnicity. And we want the national conference to hold after 2015 elections but if they said it must be, then we want sovereign conference whose recommendations will bind on the country."
The traditional rulers began their consultations behind closed doors yesterday under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar. He was quoted as saying that the region must be frank and sincere in handling the problems confronting it.
The agenda of the meeting included how to achieve violence-free elections in 2015, the ethno-religious crisis ravaging the region and other pressing issues.
It would be recalled that in his famous December 2, 2013, letter to President Jonathan, former President Olusegun Obasanjo made the same disturbing claim as the Northern traditional rulers.
“Allegation of keeping over 1000 people on political watch list rather than criminal or security watch list and training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha and training them where Abacha trained his own killers, if it is true, it cannot augur well for the initiator, the government and the people of Nigeria,” he wrote.