- Embark on rescue mission
Rising from a three-and-half-hour closed-door meeting at the weekend, in Abuja, northern and southern elders have decided to form an alliance to tackle Nigeria’s problems of governance and the economy.
To kick-start the rescue mission, the elders have decided to form a Nigerian Elders Forum to tackle the problems.
Spokesman of the forum, Prof. Banji Akintoye, briefed newsmen after the meeting and disclosed that the elders were worried “that things are not well with our country.”
On their resolutions, Prof. Akintoye added: “What we have decided is to set up – and this is the height of our decisions – to set up a Nigerian Elders Forum.
“The Forum will establish its own means of meeting and study situation and provide solutions and make sure that the decisions have impact on the lives of our country.
“Those are the things we have decided.”
Akinloye added: “We are elders, we are not active politicians. Most of us are not active politicians. We have come together because we are worried about the condition of our country. Things are not well with our country. A lot of things are happening in our country that ordinarily should not happen.
“Ours is a land of promise, a land well-endowed by nature with a lot of wealth but we are not using the wealth to enrich our people. Instead, we are going down, down and down in terms of prosperity and progress.
“So, we have decided to work together; that is the most important thing because the problems are many. There is a general problem like the problems of ecology.
“The desert is moving South upon us, upon our country and we are not doing anything about it. The ocean is moving in from the South, parts of Lagos are already under sea level and we are not doing anything about it.
“Parts of the South-South, too, are already under the sea and we are not doing anything about it, and, in the East, there is serious, strange problem of gully erosion. Nobody seems to know what to do about it.
“And, then, the economy itself. We have become a country that is no longer productive because lack of productivity is the big problem now of our country, and we have to do something about it.
“We also have this huge problem of poor governance. It is no longer a question of a party; it is no longer a question of one party is doing better than the other. You can see now clearly, even though our political parties are rarely no longer political parties, they are just neighbours or combination of people who want to gather together and win elections and control the wealth of the country which has come to me, as making yourself rich.
“That is what it has become and the quality of leadership has fallen so drastically that it is not possible to have any progress in the hands of such poor leadership and then, now, we have reached a point at which where we are actually killing one another; people going around killing their countrymen and destroying their livelihoods.
“So, we cannot go on like this. We, elders of the country have decided that we cannot go on like this. We must change actions to change these things.”
Those in attendance, including Akintoye were Dr. Yime, Yinka Odumakin, Dr. Alfred Mulade, Senator Kofo Bucknor-Akerele, Senator Chris Anyanwu, Francis Doukpola, Dr. Chike Dike, Bello Suleiman, Senator Ibrahim Y. Lame and Bala Sani.
Others were Sam Nda-Isaiah, Sheik Idris Hayatudeen, Senator Saidu M. Dansadau, Alhaji Falalu Bello, Dr. Doyin Okupe, Yerima Shettima, Dr. Charles Nwekeaku, G. G Darah, Abdullahi Usman Toro, Prof. Rahila P. Gowon and Abdulrazaq Adamu, among others.