The Northern Elders Forum has appointed Sani Daura as its interim National Chairman after its former leader, Paul Unongo, resigned.
The forum said it made the appointment after reviewing critical national developments, particularly tension around national security punctuated by killings in many communities in Benue, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna, Zamfara and other parts of the country.
Mr. Unongo stirred controversy recently when he accused former vice president Atiku Abubakar of being a patron to the rampaging Fulani herdsmen who had killed many in recent weeks. He had also reportedly threatened to raise an army to confront the armed herdsmen.
Mr. Abubakar, while denying the allegations, had threatened to sue him (Unongo) for defamation.
Mr. Unongo took over the elite forum’s leadership from the late elder statesman, Maitama Sule, last year.
The forum said it reluctantly accepted the offer of its convener, Mr. Unongo, to step aside to allow the emergence of a structured leadership which would prepare the forum to deal with many of the challenges facing the North.
Mr. Abdullahi said the forum took note of the sterling contributions of Mr. Unongo to the development of the forum along with its late founder, Mr. Sule.
“The forum has approved that the Deputy Convener, Sani Zangon Daura, CON should assume responsibility for the interim leadership of the forum. Further reorganisation of the forum will be undertaken in the next few days.”
“The forum while bidding its Mr. Unonogo farewell, demanded that relevant authorities take more decisive steps to restore the security of lives and property of citizens, particularly in the North.”
The forum also condoled with families and persons that were affected by the spate of attacks on communities.
The forum through it’s spokesman, Ango Abdullahi, called “on all leaders to observe restraint and responsibility in the manner they exercise their powers to shape opinion and determine the responses of the citizens.”
“We appeal to all communities to maintain vigilance over their relations with each other, and seek solutions that do not involve conflicts which in the end, leave all of us as losers,” it said.
The elders assured that they would continue to seek all opportunities and avenues to engage leaders, governments and all stakeholders in the search for peace and security in the North and Nigeria.
Mr. Abdullahi said the forum re-examined its basic philosophy and record, and has been re-assured that it represents a strategic asset for all northerners, irrespective of location, ethnicity or faith.
“It is motivated, under the circumstances, to seek to re-assure all communities that it will defend and protect the interests of all northerners and it will not succumb to blackmail and mischief that will reduce it to a platform for only one type of northerner.”