The Yoruba Council of Elders has told the Arewa Consultative Forum that the North is Nigeria’s problem.
The position of the YCE was sequel to the pronouncement of the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum and former Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, that Nigeria cannot survive without the North.
The position of the YCE was stated on Thursday by its Secretary General, Dr. Kunle Olajide, at the first memorial lecture of Nathaniel Abimbola, organised by the Osun State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, in Osogbo.
Abimbola, a reporter with the Osun State Broadcasting Corporation, died in an accident along the Ife-Ibadan Expressway last year.
Olajide, who was the chairman on the occasion, said the North was home to the Boko Haram Terrorists, whose activities were costing the Nigerian Government billions of naira, religious crisis, killer herdsmen as well as numerous negative indices of quality of life.
He said: “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.”
Olajide accused the North of stage managing the military coup of December 31, 1983, which ended the Second Republic administration of President Shehu Shagari.
He said the main motivation for this was to ensure power remained in the North, adding that the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo spent a greater part of his political career and his resources struggling to liberate the talakawas of the North from their elite, but feudalism and religious fatalism frustrated his efforts.
He said the Yoruba people were not only insisting on the restructuring of the political architecture in the country, they were also insisting on the wholesale reform of this elite-centered system of government.
He said the unfair wages and remuneration of the political leadership in the executive and the legislature must be reviewed downwards, adding that their outrageous pension benefits and severance allowances must be scrapped and the entire political system not be made financially lucrative to ward off political contractors and charlatans.
He said if these were done, only service-minded people would begin to show interest to take over the political leadership of the country.
Olajide said: “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.”