BY ISAIAH BENJAMIN, Kaduna
All may not be well with leadership of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) as two of its directors seems to be in disagreement over issues relating to the suspended blockade of food from the North to the South West.
It would be recalled that Dr. Hakeem Baba- Ahmed had issued a statement in his capacity as the director publicity and advocacy of the forum to the effect that he posited that, although the forum welcomed the decision of the Federal Government to address a major and prolonged grievance of transporters over multiple taxation and extortion and the decision of the union’s members to suspend their strike, it rejected the government’s idea of delegating its responsibility to private individuals.
Dr. Baba-Ahmed in the statement said, “The Forum is disturbed by the visible involvement of a private citizen identified as supporting threats to the security of northern communities in the southwest in the discussions preceding the resolution of the strike, and the mention of a number of people who had been instrumental to creating intense hostility around northerners living in the southwest.
“Indeed, some of the persons mentioned as having been contacted to give assurances to northern traders, herders and transporters have been fingered by the police as being involved in criminal activities against northerners in the southwest,” Baba-Ahmed said.
But in a swift reaction, one of the director in the NEF, Nastura Ashir Shariff who is the director of Youths and mobilization of the forum disagreed with the position of the director of publicity Dr. Baba-Ahmed in a statement he issued, stressing that Dr Baba-Ahmed spoke for himself and not onbehalf of the forum.
According to Shariff, ” I write in my capacity as a Director in the Northern Elders Forum and one of its foundation members in regards to recent media statement by Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF’s spokesperson purportedly on behalf of the Forum.
“I can authoritatively say that the statement in which the personality of some individuals involved in the recent negotiations to resolve the food to South blockade issue was challenged, merely represents the personal view of the spokesperson, not that of NEF and made without due consultation.
“To the best of my knowledge, there has not been a time when the general assembly of the Forum met to take a decision to that effect since the conclusion of the negotiations.
“It is therefore unbecoming for one individual member to assume the sole ownership of the right to speak for a Forum that was painstakingly put together and managed without consultation with the general assembly.
“Regrettably this attitude had once led to a serious misunderstanding with one of our core founders in the past and should in no way be tolerated from anyone else.
“Unfortunately such overbearing attitude of using the platform of NEF to vent pent up personal political jealousies by the spokesperson has been on for a while to the irritation of other members,” he stressed.