2015:Middle Belt leaders fire back at ACF for attacking Jonathan

By The Rainbow

AREWA Elders were, on Saturday, berated for criticising some prominent Northerners who expressed support for President Goodluck Jonathan's 2015 Presidency.

This came as members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 Northern States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), described, as unfortunate, Jonathan's statement that Muslims were the major victims of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North.

The Iponu Idoma, a socio - cultural organisation of the Idoma nation, has condemned what it described as a frontal attack on former military Governor of Katsina State, Major. Gen. Lawrence Onoja, and Second Republic Deputy Senate President, Senator John Wash Pam, by the leadership of the northern Socio Cultural organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF).

Addressing a press conference Saturday in Kaduna, Chairman of the Iponu Idoma, Mr. Oyinehi Inalegwu, said the Middle Belt was fed up with alleged systematic plots by the northern oligarchy to destroy the image of outstanding Middle Belt leaders, especially when elections are drawing near.

'We take exception to the attacks on Senator Pam and Gen. Onoja by the ACF because they have refused to do the bidding of the Northern oligarchy that is always suppressing and marginalising northern minority groups,' he said.

Chairman of the ACF, Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, had criticised Onoja and Pam both of who are members of the forum for endorsing President Goodluck Jonathan for a second term when South -South and Middle Belt leaders visited the President recently.

Mohammed had also accused President Goodluck Jonathan of  plotting a divide-and-rule tactics against the North ahead of the 2015 elections.

The Arewa chieftain spoke at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the forum which held recently in Kaduna,

But the Idoma cultural organisation said the attacks on Onoja and Pam were uncalled for, especially as both men have freedom of association as permitted by the Nigerian Constitution.

Inalegwu accused the northern oligarchy of suppressing the political aspirations of the minority Northern groups, even as he maintained that the Hausa/Fulani, who have continued to use minority groups for their selfish political agenda, cause the division in the North.

'When the ACF talk of Northern Presidential candidates, you only hear them mention names of Mohammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Nasir El-rufai, Nuhu Ribadu, Ibrahim Shekarau, Sule Lamido, Atiku Abubakar, Musa Kwankwoso and so on; you don't hear them mention names like T.Y Danjuma, Audu Ogbe, Solomon Lar, Dan Suleiman, Senator David Mark, yet they claimed that we are all northerners,' he said.

'The ACF should leave Jonathan alone and look inward on the problems of the division in the North because the problem of the division is not caused by Jonathan.

'The north had been divided a long time before Jonathan ventured into politics. Anybody who thinks the North is one united entity and Jonathan is using divide-and-rule against the region is either living in the moon or is dreaming.

'Yakubu Gowon was run down by this method they are using against Onojo and Pam. They glorify their own leaders who misrule this country, but they rubbish our leaders who refuse to allow themselves to be used for their selfish interest.

'I am not speaking for Onoja and Wash Pam, but I think they are now beginning to realise their mistakes and are retracing their steps from this group called ACF.

'I hope that people like Mr. Anthony Sani, from Nasarawa State, who is the spokesman of the ACF will soon realise this fact and find his roots.'

Meanwhile, Christians in the 19 Northern States, yesterday, described Jonathan's recent comments on the negative effects of the insurgency in the north as a veiled attempt to distort facts.

President Jonathan was said to have been quoted as saying that the Islamic sect has killed more Muslims than Christians in the North.

But, the spokesman of CAN in the 19 Northern States, Mr. Sunday Oibe, said if the President actually made such assertion, then it would only be an effort to mislead.

According to him, the purported statement is highly disappointing considering the fact that Christians and their churches and businesses have been the major targets of the Boko Haram terror group.