Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad, has said anybody planning attack on the south easterners would have to attack him first. But the Sultan’s bravado is coming rather too late. If he had dared the restive northern youths while they raged against Igbo traders and residents, then perhaps he would have been labelled a hero now.
The sultan, who is also the President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), spoke when the leader of World Igbo Union, Dr. Ahanta Meshach, accompanied by other prominent leaders residing in Sokoto paid him a courtesy call.
He explained that restructuring did “not mean balkanising or dividing Nigeria, but simply means making adjustments here and there for equal accommodation for all and sundry in the country, for equity and fair play, religiously, socially and economically.”
According to the monarch, the agitation for separation by some people or call for disintegration could not solve the myriad of problems bedeviling the country. He said dividing Nigeria into many parts would only lead to a situation where towns and villages would be clamouring to become independent.
The sultan, who acknowledged that there were genuine complaints bordering on marginalisation, said the way out was peaceful resolution through dialogue and not through violence and use of dangerous weapons.
He took a swipe at politicians for most of the problems, saying “they come to you during campaigns, promise you heaven in your house, air conditioners on all roads and milk entering your mouth hourly without any effort from you and, as soon as they win, they disappear to Abuja where they start planning or arranging comfort for themselves while some from rural areas move to state capitals with careless abandonment of the voters.”
The sultan called for the election of credible persons into political offices as the only way forward even as he condemned all about the quit notice, the violent method of agitations for separation, kidnappings, vandalism and hiding under religion to kill through the use of suicide bombing instruments believing that it will lead one to heaven when, in fact, such persons are hell fire-bound because their acts are not supported by Islam.
IGBO LEADER DECRIES SECESSION
Earlier in his speech, the World Igbo Union leader Meshach said he had been going round telling Igbo that they could not live peacefully in isolation from Nigeria. He urged his kinsmen to work towards ensuring proper reintegration and reconstruction as promised by former military Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon after the 30-month civil war. He said it could include agitation for creation of more states in the south-east to be at par with other geopolitical zones of the country.