The Yoruba Council of Elders, YCE, on Thursday described northern Nigeria as one big problem and a great obstacle to the country’s development, stressing that the region has been dragging Nigeria backward since independence.
The YCE Secretary General, Dr. Kunle Olajide, stated this in reaction to the statement credited to the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, and a former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, who said that Nigeria could not survive without the North.
He stated this in Osogbo at the first memorial lecture of a reporter, Nathaniel Abimbola, who died in an accident along the Ife-Ibadan Expressway last year. The event was put together by the Osun State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ.
Olajide, who was the chairman on the occasion, said the North was home to the Boko Haram which was costing the Nigerian government billions of naira, religious crisis, killer herdsmen as well as numerous negative indices of quality of life.
According to him, “The newspapers reported the Arewa Consultative Forum as saying that Nigeria cannot survive without the North. Whatever was meant by that statement credited to the ACF chairman remains to be understood.
“However, I congratulate him for accepting that the North as it is today represents all that is wrong with Nigeria. The North-East is ravaged by insurgency costing the country billions of dollars annually. The North-West is home to religious crisis, the North-Central is ravaged by herdsmen of northern extraction. Collectively the North is home to all negative indices of the quality of life. Infant mortality rate is highest in the North.
“Illiteracy rate is highest in the North and the number of out-of-school children is highest in the North. The poverty index in the North is high while the twin evil bedeviling the North is feudalism and religious fatalism. It will not be out of place to say the North has in fact been dragging Nigeria down since independence. All sorts of mischievous phrases were coined by the very tiny political / military elite of the North to give undue advantage to the North.”
The YCE scribe disclosed that the late Obafemi Awolowo spent the greater part of his political career and his resources struggling to liberate the people in the north.
His words, “Let me assure Alhaji Coomassie that much as we want a fair and egalitarian Nigerian society, it is not at all costs.
“The rest of Nigeria will survive, flourish and join the league of first world countries within two decades if the north exits.
“If it desires to leave Nigeria, join me in saying goodbye to the exiting north, I wish them a safe journey into the desert.”