Northern leaders meet in Minna, Abuja, over Boko Haram, President Jonathan

March 16th, 2012

Tribune A coalition of a northern leaders and academics, on Thursday, accused President Goodluck Jonathan of scheming for third term as president, even as they restated the opposition of the North to subsisting revenue sharing formula within the federation.

Rising from a meeting held at the Asokoro area of Abuja, the coalition, in a statement signed by Dr Junaid Mohammad, alleged that the presidency, alongside the committee headed by a former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Alfa Belgore, was plotting to impose a new constitution, under which President Jonathan would seek another term in 2015.

The coalition, in the statement, accused Justice Belgore of having “nothing but contempt for issues in which the North feels cheated,” while threatening to mobilise against the new third term bid.

Related: NewsRescue- Religious Violence In Nigeria: Boko Haram As A Tool Of Religious, Political & Foreign Interests

The coalition also declared that the current revenue allocation formula violated international law of the sea as well as a subsisting Supreme Court judgment, declaring that “the North rejects the current obnoxious revenue allocation law and call for its immediate review.”

In another development, two former Nigerian leaders, Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar, togetjer with former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar and the immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, including other eminent citizens, such as Mallam Adamu Ciroma, Archbishop John Onaiyekan, among others, on Thursday, converged on Maizube farm house of General Abubakar in Minna, Niger State, to proffer solutions to the lingering security challenges bedeviling the country.

Others in attendance at the two-day meeting included former CJN, Justice Alfa Belgore; Sheik Ahmed Lemu; Alhaji Ismaila Isa Funtua; Dr Bello Fadile; Alhaji Tanko Yakasi; Mrs Pauline Tallen; Alhaji Aminu Sale; Professor Jubril Aminu and Brigadier-General John Sagaya (retd).

The convener of the meeting, General Abdul-salami, in his opening remarks, said the forum, held under the auspices of Abdulsalami Abubakar Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development, was the product of intense and wide ranging consultations he had been engaged in, in the last few months.

“Like all of you in this room, I am worried about the direction and consequences of a number of developments in our nation. Ordinarily, elders like us would take comfort in the belief that God almighty has rewarded our own past endeavours with successors who should worry over matters of national security, the state of the economy and governance generally.

“It would have been their lot to find solutions to problems that confront our people today and ours would have been to pray for them and where necessary, offer some general advice and prayers,” Abdulsalami said.

The former leader, however, said the issue of security and development should not be left only to the government, as the citizenry also had a responsibility.

Abubakar described Nigerians as their own worst enemies, adding that what the meeting intended to achieve was to restore hope to disenchanted citizenry.

Also, the chairman on the occasion, Mallam Ciroma, said there were certain issues that had become concerns to all the citizens, especially issues of security, economic situation of the country, religious confrontation, as well as the use of government resources anyhow by leaders of government.

General Babangida, in his speech, noted that it was becoming a matter of grave concern to all patriotic and well-meaning Nigerians that  various criminal groups had, in the recent times, been operating more brazenly in the country, a reason he said security of lives and property should be uppermost in the minds of the entire citizenry.

Babangida said anytime they saw a little problem capable of aggravating the situation, past leaders had tried to assemble all the right minds to come together, based on their experiences, to find the solution.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s government has, in the last week, held its first indirect peace talks with Islamist sect, Boko Haram, meeting mediators to discuss a possible ceasefire, political and diplomatic sources told Reuters on Thursday.

Two people close to Boko Haram had been carrying messages back and forth between the sect’s self-proclaimed leader, Abubakar Shekau and government officials, the sources, who asked not to be named, said.

It was not clear whether any mediators met with President Goodluck Jonathan himself.

A source at the presidency confirmed that efforts were being made to reach out to negotiators of the sect, but that direct talks had not yet begun.