Prof Ango Abdullahi, an elder statesman and Northern Leader, is depressed about the state of Nigeria. As a result, he added, he had resolved not to comment on or be active in national matters any longer, a condition he named “articulated withdrawal syndrome.”
Getting him to talk about the Nigeria project on this sunny Monday morning, after a long hiatus, was a Sisyphean chore. He abruptly and curtly stopped in his tracks before offering an apparent rebuke the instant he realized the conversation was sneakily headed towards an interview: “please, we are just talking. No press interview, please. I don’t want to talk again.”
For about 20 minutes, he was prodded and cajoled with lewd remarks, jokes, and interlocutions before finally acquiescing. The fifth Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU), took a deep breath and spoke in short breaths and cadences.
“Is there anything more to say that I have not said before? Some of us have already collected our boarding passes and will leave you with your wahala”.
The octogenarian convener of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) bemoaned what he called the “excesses of the present generation, saying ‘it is time to decide whether to keep the country together or whether to disband it so that everybody can go in peace”.
He expressed remorse, saying that the founding fathers must be shifting nervously in their graves at what the country has become. He criticized the elite for squandering the sexagenarian nation’s hopes, desires, and aspirations. He discussed Nigeria’s variety as well as the country’s proclivity for disintegration. He believes that the existing security measures to keep the country safe are misguided and irrational. He intoned, “Do they care about the core causes of the agitations?”
Finally, he supported the separation of Biafra from Nigeria, stating that clamping down on the separatist enclave’s agitators without addressing the core issues is delusory and ineffective. He had a conversation with CHIDI OBINECHE.