Dr Kunle Olajide, the secretary general of the Yoruba Council of Elders, has said that the north is a big problem and great obstacle to the development of Nigeria.
Olajide made the statement in Osogbo on Thursday, March 22, at the first memorial lecture of Nathaniel Abimbola organised by the Osun state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Punch reports.
The News Cable notes that the statement was a reaction to the statement credited to the chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum and former inspector general of police, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomassie, who said that Nigeria could not survive without the north.
Olajide said: “The newspapers reported the Arewa Consultative Forum as saying that Nigeria cannot survive without the north. Whatever was meant by that statement credited to the ACF chairman remains to be understood.
“However, I congratulate him for accepting that the north as it is today represents all that is wrong with Nigeria. The northeast is ravaged by insurgency costing the country billions of dollars annually. The northwest is home to religious crisis, the north-central is ravaged by herdsmen of northern extraction. Collectively the north is home to all negative indices of the quality of life. Infant mortality rate is highest in the north.
“Illiteracy rate is highest in the north and the number of out-of-school children is highest in the north. The poverty index in the north is high while the twin evil bedeviling the north is feudalism and religious fatalism. It will not be out of place to say the north has in fact been dragging Nigeria down since independence. All sorts of mischievous phrases were coined by the very tiny political/military elite of the north to give undue advantage to the north.”
According to Olajide, the north staged-managed the military coup which removed former president Shehu Shagari from power on December 31, 1983. He stated that the northern oligarch feared that there could be revolution in the country and they allegedly planned the coup with the military in order to ensure that power remained in the north.
Olajide added: “Let me assure Alhaji Coomassie that much as we want a fair and egalitarian Nigerian society, it is not at all costs. The rest of Nigeria will survive, flourish and join the league of first world countries within two decades if the north exits. If it desires to leave Nigeria, join me in saying goodbye to the exiting north, I wish them a safe journey into the desert.”