Chibok Girls: No Going Back On Our Ultimatum, Ango Abdullahi Tells Jonathan
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has fired back at the presidency, saying it was indeed behinnd the October ultimatum given to President Goodluck Jonathan to rescue the abducted Chibok schoolgirls or forget his 2015 ambition of returning as the president of Nigeria.
An official of the forum and former vice-chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Prof Ango Abdullahi, who disclosed this during an interview with a selection of journalists in Abuja yesterday, said the group had every right as Nigerians to issue the ultimatum, adding that they were only exercising their freedom of expression.
On Monday, the forum, at press conference addressed by two of its members, Barr Solomon Dalung and Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed in Kaduna, had said that President Jonathan had until the end of October this year to produce theschoolgirls abducted in April, or face mass opposition to his re-election as president in 2015.
Reacting to the ultimatum by NEF on Tuesday, the presidency, through the senior special assistant to the president on public affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe blasted the group and said the president did not require any threat or ultimatum from the North or any group of persons for him to perform his constitutional responsibilities.
But Prof Abdullahi said his group was not surprised at the turn of events, adding that he wondered why anyone who did not know the real members of the NEF would question its membership.
“One is not completely surprised with the reaction of the presidential aide on the press conference put together by Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed and Solomon Dalung in Kaduna. First, I think the question with regard to whether the statement actually came from the Northern Elders Forum, perhaps they are not used to seeing other people apart from the usual persons speaking on behalf of the forum.
I want to make it absolutely clear that the press conference convened by Dr Hakeem and Dalung was convened with full knowledge and support of the Northern Elders Forum. In fact, it was a product of a meeting that took place that both translated into a press statement. So, that is to disabuse the mind of anybody who doubts thatthese two gentlemen are speaking for themselves. They are speaking on behalf of the forum.“One is surprised that someone who doesn’t know the Northern Elders Forum, should begin to question who are members and who are not members. But I want to assure listeners or readers, as the case may be, that Dr Hakeem and Dalung that convened this press conference in Kaduna did so with full knowledge of the Northern Elders Forum’s main committee. I want to clear that doubt in the mind of anybody, whether from the officialdom or from ordinary reading public,” Abdullahi said.