The Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, on Thursday said the North would not allow its past leaders, especially those killed in 1966 coup, to be abused and denigrated.
The emir, whose position was corroborated by the 19 Northern governors, issued the warning at the 50th anniversary of the commemoration of the assassination of the Premier of defunct Northern Region, Ahmadu Bello, held at Arewa House, Kaduna.
Mr. Sanusi II said the history of the 1966 coup is being re-written, noting that even if the North and Northerners had forgiven and forgotten what happened, they would not allow the history to be distorted.
“Tomorrow marks exactly 50 years to an incident in the history of this country in which a number of leaders were killed.
“Sir Ahmadu Bello was one, Sir Tafawa Balewa was another, Chief Akintola was another, Chief Okotie Eboh was another, including a number of generals that hailed from this part of the country and from the Western part of this country.
“Now this has happened, and the events that followed are known but sad. We have gone over them. We have moved on to become one country.
“But 50 years later, before our very eyes, this history is being re-written and those who killed are claiming to be the victims.
“It is important that we keep history truthful. Even if we forgive and forget, we should never allow history to be re-written.
“This is because what is happening in Nigeria today is a new story, a new narrative. Sardauna was not a victim, Tafawa Balewa was not a victim, they were the cause of the problem – we cannot accept this.
“The North and Northerners would not want to open old wounds as everyone has been hurt, offended, marginalised, lost people, produced good and corrupt leaders, and no one has the monopoly of power, corruption or oppression. So people should learn from history.
He noted that like every human being, the late Sardauna and Balewa had their shortcomings but they were heroes and “better than anything that this country has produced”.
Mr. Sanusi II said anyone who had a problem with the late Sardauna should bring his own “Sardauna” and compare.
He said that Nigeria had moved on, and so there was no need drawing sectional, ethnic, regional, religious and secessionist battle.
“I think we owe it to the memory of these gentlemen who were murdered to protect them from insult.
“And so long as we are alive, we will defend their honour. We are calling for peace, we are calling for unity, we are calling for tolerance, but we are insisting on respect – we would not be disrespected,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of the Northern governors, Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, said all governors present on the occasion agreed fully with the speech of the emir.
“As Northern governors, we want peace in Nigeria. We want unity in our diversity. We want progress and development in Nigeria, but we will not accept a situation in which our parents, our forefathers are being insulted.
“We would not accept any revisionist attempt to re-write history and discredit those whose legacies we enjoy,” he warned.
In attendance among the nineteen Northern governors were the governors of Kebbi, Atiku Bagudu; Taraba, Darius Ishaku; Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal; Borno, Kashim Shettima; and Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari.