The elders also threatened to take the Federal Government to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for the killings of civilians in the recent Baga carnage if the security forces deployed to the area were found culpable of mass killing by a set of lawyers constituted by the forum to probe the incident.
Led by its Chairman, Malam Maitaima Sule, Dan Mansaini Kano, the forum during a meeting in Maiduguri, Borno State with Borno Elders and after its visit to the governor of the state, Kashim Shettima, said though the northerners threw away the presidency few years ago by some political errors, adding that elders in the North had decided that it was time to return the presidency to the region.
“We are not happy that the North is not playing active role in the present day. That is why we decided to bring together our surviving elders. We resolved that something must be done, that the North ought to do more than it currently doing now in the affairs of the country.
“You know the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) is a socio-cultural group but in the current situation now in this country, we need more than a socio-cultural group to address our challenge and that is why we came with the formation of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF). Our group believes that any discussion that will not bring back power to the North in 2015 is not in the interest of the North and its people,” the forum chairman who was represented by Prof. Ango Abdullahi, former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello Univesrity (ABU) and founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said.
He said the elders had constituted two committees to examine the political future of the North vis-à-vis power rotation issue as it affected 2015 and the current insecurity in the North, adding that the elders were posed to tackle the governors of the 19 northern states over the issue.
“I was a founding member of PDP and I do know that zoning of the presidency between the North and South was agreed but (former president) Obasanjo came and decided to deal with the North. We knew then it will take a huge effort to address this challenge but if we stand firm and with dedication, the North can stand again.
“The Northern Elders Forum has no political party, no candidate but our party is the people of the North. We know where the lapses are but we’re going to tackle the governors of the northern states. So join us in this fight,” he told Governor Shettima.
The forum also berated the Federal Government for the handling of the insecurity in the North, saying “I sensed lack of honesty and sincerity in the approach to the Boko Haram insurgency.
“We sensed some of the insecurity going on in the country is particularly targeted at a particular part of the country perhaps to weaken its political relevance. The Boko Haram crisis has been on for too long and we have the feeling that some people in power are just dragging it for material or pecuniary reasons.
“Just take a look at the security vote in this year budget and you will understand the background for our feeling and curiosity. As we went along, there is doubt to the sincerity of the leaders in managing the crisis. There is also the feeling of political undertone with this vicious campaign about 2015,” he stated.