The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Iba Gani Adams, has debunked the claim made by Zamfara State governor, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, that Northerners were being killed in the Southern part of the country and that such should stop to prevent a reprisal in the North, describing the statement as unfortunate and inflammatory.
Iba Adams then urged Northern leaders to call the governor to order, adding that he should not use the issue of ethnicity to play politics.
Adams stated this while speaking to Nigerian Tribune in reaction to Matawalle’s statement, just as he maintained that at no time did the people of SouthWest engage in attacking Northerners in the zone.
According to the Yoruba generalissimo, who spoke on telephone, Northerners who are doing their legitimate businesses are free to run their businesses in the South-West without any form of attack, asserting that nobody would attack any person who is not a criminal in Yorubaland.
He pointed out that criminals are not even attacked in the zone as they are being handed over to the police, just as he wondered how Governor Matawalle came about his information.
Adams said: “Well, I think the governor should know that we Southerners, especially the South-Westerners, have never attacked Northerners in our region.
“Northerners who are doing their legitimate businesses are free to run their businesses here in the South-West; nobody will attack any person who is not a criminal in the South-West, even the criminal must not even be attacked in the South-West, we hand them over to the police. So I don’t know where the governor is getting the information from,” he said.
“So I am speaking on behalf of the South-West, the Yoruba people have never attacked Northerners who are doing their lawful and legitimate businesses, and I don’t think anybody who is mature as a governor can make that kind of statement. So, Northern leaders should call the governor to order, that he should not use the issue of ethnicity to play politics,” he added.
Iba Adams, while further describing Matawalle’s statement as unfortunate, warned the governor to desist from using the issue of ethnicity to pacify the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) where he wants to decamp to.
Adams counselled that Matawalle should calmly walk into APC and should not overheat the polity just because he wants to be given a leeway in 2023, adding that: “I wonder how our politicians will play politics to destroy this country.”
He said: “Three days ago, Abdulrahman Dambazzau, a former interior minister, equated the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) with Boko Haram. And now, a sitting governor too is making that kind of statement. “Though we have responded to Dambazzau’s statement through the publicity secretary of OPC, notwithstanding, I think Northern elders should call some of them to order so that they don’t ignite fire in this country.”
Also, a social cultural group, Yoruba Peace and Leadership Initiative (TYLPI), has described the statement credited to Matawalle as baseless, distasteful, reckless, insensitive and irresponsible. In a statement by its Director of Publicity, Mr Tunde Ipinmisho, the group said such unguarded statements were capable of triggering a civil war as witnessed between 1967 and 1980.
It said Matawalle’s statement smirks of dangerous desperation by those who believe that the nation must travel on a trajectory pre-determined by them alone. TYLPI also said the unguarded statement by Matawalle reflected poorly on the nation’s leadership recruitment process. It praised the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) for its timely and courageous condemnation of the governor’s statement. Noting that Nigeria was in very difficult times, the group said the least that was expected of leaders across the nation was for them to guard their utterances and let out only words that build bridges among the people rather than raise tension.
Describing Matawalle’s statement as akin to a man who attempts to set fire to the roof of the house in which he is sleeping, the group said those who ignite the fire of crisis ought to be well aware that nobody can predict the direction the fire of instability would spread or its possible victims.
What the nation needs now, the group said, are genuine patriots who would proffer workable solutions to the issues afflicting Nigeria.