The presidency, on Tuesday, slammed the Northern Elders Forum for what it called “delusional arrogance” over its call for some sections of the country to secede.
According to a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the presidency insisted that only democratically elected leaders can take decisions that steer the nation, and no one else.
The statement was titled “Statement on the call by ‘Northern Elders Forum’ asking a section of the country to leave the federation.”
It read in part, “We are aware of the latest statement from the so-called ‘Northern Elders Forum.’
“We wish to reassure Nigerians that it remains their democratically elected leadership which takes the decisions that steer our nation–and no one else.
“No self-appointed and unelected group can take this right from Nigerians – no matter how much coverage they might enjoy in the media. Nigerians listen to elected leaders, not opinionated tin-gods who have no traction with any responsible group.
“It is a delusional arrogance that would lead such a group to publicly state terms and conditions for the existence of our nation.
“Who gave them the right to ask for the exclusion, or expulsion of any one, group or section of the country from the Federal Republic of Nigeria?”
The presidency noted that the Nigerian government does not take guidance or invitations from such groups–only from the Nigerian people who put governments in office.
It said while any group can refer to itself as “leaders”, the government will not recognise it as such “if you have not been elected by Nigerians to a leadership role.”
The statement further noted that like many other countries around the world, Nigeria is feeling the strain of the current period of volatility and uncertainty.
Therefore, “Now is not the time to seek to exacerbate divisions amongst Nigerians. Rather, we call on all Nigerians to come together and work to overcome the challenges we face as one nation, one people.”