The pan-northern socio-political organisation, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), on Thursday said its membership was not by force.
The ACF National Publicity Secretary, Emmanuel Yawe, said this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja, while reacting to the emergence of a breakaway group in the pan-northern organisation.
Yawe said the ACF said was not worried about the emergence of the North-Central Peoples Forum (NCPF).
On Wednesday, prominent leaders from the North-Central announced their exit from the ACF, citing the worsening insecurity in northern Nigeria.
The NCPF, which has as its interim Chairman, a former Minister of Health, Gabriel Aduku, said it would fight insecurity in the North-Central.
Commenting on the emergence of the new group, Yawe said the ACF was a big family that accommodated diverse interests in the region.
Yawe added that the ACF would not expel the NCPF member, neither was the northern body angry over the development.
The forum’s spokesman said, “We are not worried at the ACF at all. The north is a very big region of this country. Niger State alone is three times bigger than the entire South-East geopolitical zone. So, we are not worried when such a thing happens because when you are so big and you accommodate people of such diverse backgrounds, a lot of things are bound to develop.
‘We cannot force everybody to belong to the ACF, but we accept every northerner as member of ACF.
“We have a vision of what we want the North to be. We want the North to catch up and maybe overtake the South in terms of development in education, industry, agriculture and everything. So, any group that says it has broken away from the ACF, if really they have broken away, if they have the same vision with us, they are welcome.”
But the Southern Kaduna Peoples Union commended the emergence of the North Central Peoples Forum.
The National Public Relations Officer of SOKAPU, Mr Luka Binniyat, while reacting to the formation of the NCPF, told one of our correspondents in Kaduna on Thursday that the development was long awaited.
According to Binniyat, the ACF means little or nothing to the people of Southern Kaduna.
The SOKAPU’s spokesman said, “It is a super positive development and long awaited, although it will be subsumed under the Middle Belt Forum, in which Southern Kaduna is an active member.
“The ACF has meant little or nothing for Southern Kaduna but serves as a ruse to pursue the interest of the core north under a false ‘One North’ that has truly never existed.
“The truth should be sinking into everyone that a united, monolithic North, if it ever existed, is finally dead and buried, no matter the number of Middle Belt persons they are fronting as leaders of the ACF.
“SOKAPU welcomes the development and we shall write to congratulate them for their courage and vision.”
On its part, the Middle Belt Forum said it did not know the real intention behind the formation of the breakaway group.
The National President of the forum, Dr Bitrus Porgu who spoke to one of our correspondents in Jos on Thursday said only time would tell.
He added that the Middle Belt Forum was intact and ready to face any group or organisation whose formation was to destabilise the people of the region
Porgu said “We are watching what the people in the breakaway ACF will do because for now, we don’t know their real intention. If dissatisfaction in the operation of the parent body was the reason behind the formation of the new group or a design to destabilize the Middle Belt Forum, we will know with time. – Punch.