•They’re affirming their identity, interest –Afenifere
Pan Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo has said that the recent breakaway of North Central region under the aegis of North Central Peoples’ Forum from Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) was long overdue and a step in the right direction.
Even as the Yoruba counterpart Afenifere Renewal Group through its spokesperson Yinka Odumakin said it is no longer time for slavery, master – servant relationship, as they are affirming their identity and interest. Both groups spoke in different interviews with Sunday Telegraph in reaction to the formation of the Forum.
Media Adviser to the President General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, Chief Emeka Attamah, said that although the move was coming late in the day but it was better than never. “What is happening there is obviously a sign of a crack that all is not well in the North.
The monolithic North we used to think of is no longer there because you can use people up to a time but you cannot use them beyond a particular time. “You can’t realize the truth of their existence and the truth of their existence is that the events in recent time have shown the North Central states that they are not regarded as part and parcel of the North.
There is no way somebody who went through what the North Central states have been going through would not cry out. They have borne the brunt of very dastardly Fulani herdsmen attack. Their homelands have been taken away and given different names by their traducers, the attackers.
“And the Federal Government and even the Arewa Consultative Forum have not really shown any desire to protect them from the marauders. So they have come to realize that their salvation lies in their own hands and not in any other person’s hands. And that’s why you are witnessing the crack in the group.
It’s not even impossible that there will be greater cracks, you know, there will be greater signs of the obvious cracks in days to come because more groups will come out to express their disenchantment and may either decide to go on their own or decide to align even with some parts of the South.
“So if you ask me, it’s a minus for the Arewa Consultative Forum but a very big plus for the North Central states, because now they have taken their destiny in their hands. “They will certainly be better off not just being better off but at least their conscience will be at rest with themselves; because if you remember even during the war, before the war, during the war, the bulk of the military came from the North Central states, when you talk about Benue and Plateau states.
These are the ‘Gwodogwodos’(soldiers) we knew during the war. “And they were used like cannon fodder and jettisoned. Now they no longer stand high in the hierarchy of the Nigerian army where they used to be in control.
There is nothing to hold on to; their villages are being bombarded and attacked every day, they are being killed in their large numbers and nobody is doing anything to help them. “So you can’t but expect this kind of thing to happen. And I think that it’s even a bit late in the day but it’s better than never,” he said. Speaking in the same vein, Afenifere said the it is age of civilization, where every race and people are defined by their history, their interest and identity.
“This is the time for those holding Nigeria to a ransom to let the people go,” he said. He continued: “It is no longer time for slavery and master – servant relationship. If it continues, people will opt out. It happened in the Soviet Union where empires are crumbling; People are answering their father’s name. It is no longer time when some will be slaves and others will be masters. “If we do not sit down to negotiate, people will opt out. Any Constitution that does not bend will break.”