Northern Elders Forum burden to the north, threats against Tinubu ridiculous - Matawalle

Tinubu and Matawalle
By Paul Dada
The Minister of State for Defence, Bello Mohammed Matawalle has come down hard on the Northern Elders Forum over its recent comment that the north regretted voting President Bola Tinubu.
The NEF had through its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, said the north had learned from its misstep in voting Tinubu and would in the 2027 presidential  election vote for someone who can unite the country.
But Matawalle in a statement he released on Saturday said the threats of the NEF were reprehensible and naïve. He said the group was merely seeking political relevance.
The Minister said: ” My attention has been drawn to the threats issued by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF)  against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, which is  reprehensible and naive. It is preposterous for a group of  people seeking political relevance to overburden the system and create political disunity among Nigerians.
“The so-called NEF is more or less a political paperweight trying to embark on a destructive journey that will  bring the North to disrepute for the group’s personal and selfish gains .
“In addition, This NEF is more of a political burden to Northerners. The group is seeking to erode other people’s rights in order to be recognised or made  relevant in the scheme of things despite the failure of their sponsored candidates in the 2023 general elections.
“In as much as many have overlooked them in respect of their utterances, it is pertinent to underscore their overbearing attitude on issues that affect political unity and cohesion.  They cannot offer any positive idea or thought about the future of Northern Nigeria or, indeed, of Nigeria and its unity and togetherness.
We all know President Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR won the February 2023 presidential election convincingly. So, who is the NEF to want to undermine the president’s victory and even threaten to unseat him?
This same group of people have intentionally shied away from their responsibility of engendering unity in the North by appreciating the incremental development being brought to the North by Ministers appointed by President Tinubu from the North, especially North West. The NEF has not deemed it fit to seek  audience with Mr. President to discuss issues affecting the Northern region despite the numerous challenges facing the North as rightly highlighted by the President and being addressed by him.
“The group is    yet to visit any of the  ministers dealing with issues of security, agriculture, water resources, police affairs, Education,Health, Budget, foreign affairs, or any head of security agencies in the country so far for first hand knowledge of government programs and actions.
” The majority of them are more interested in faulting the government so as to be recognised or accorded some relevance”.
Matawalle said  the north was too united, disciplined and political driven to listen and accept being “teleguided by any group of elites who had fed fat in the past on the North’s resources and opportunities which had  retarded development in the region and nation due to their selfishness”.
Adding, he said,  “President Tinubu is poised to do a lot for the North as President of Nigeria, elected by the people of Nigeria, not by one ethnic group or the other, therefore, anyone mistakenly seeing President Tinubu as a failure or a weakling is making a mistake and should rethink.
“Such a person or group is either blind or misguided and unable to see the new Nigeria that is emerging”.
He said  NEF’s statement allegedly expressing regret for voting for President Tinubu was unfortunate.
“NEF is not more than a group that has refused to accept reality and is living in delusion. The truth is that the North is proud of its support and vote for President Tinubu and will continue to be proud of her relationship with the President given the enormous change and development his government has brought to the region.
“My advice to NEF and others alike , is to support  the present government and join hands with President Tinubu GCFR in order to further move the country forward,” Matawalle said.
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