Minister of State for Defence, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, has tackled the Katsina Elders’ Forum (KEF) over their recent threat to President Bola Tinubu on the decision of his administration to relocate some departments of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to Lagos State for effective operations, administration, and prudent resource management.
Matawalle said the Katsina Elders’ view was contrived to set the Northern Nigeria against the Southern Nigeria, saying it was wrong for the Elders to make such a wild declaration on behalf of the North when they know well enough that it was not the popular view in the region.
The issues raised by the Katsina Elders’ Forum include the relocation of some departments of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua International Airport expansion project in Katsina.
The elders, according to several reports, asked the President to reverse the decisions or risk losing the support of the North in the 2027 general election.
However, the minister, while traveling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to attend a world conference for ministers of defence in Riyadh and to perform lesser Hajj, told reporters that the threat by the Katsina Elders is an empty one.
The minister stressed that what Northern Nigeria needs is the security of their lives and property, which President Tinubu is committed to providing.
He also warned that anything capable of truncating the nation’s democracy and setting the North against other regions would not be tolerated by the government.
Matawalle declared that President Tinubu is for all Nigerians and that he has no interest or agenda against any of the six geopolitical zones of the country.
He said the Renewed Hope Agenda of the President is geared towards setting things right for the realization of maximum economic development, security, and welfare of all Nigerians.
The Minister of State for Defence also stated that the Katsina Elders Forum has no mandate to speak for the North on such sensitive issues.
He said, “Do Katsina Elders have the right to speak on behalf of Northern people? How can the elders who failed to support the President and their own, former President Muhammadu Buhari, to win Katsina State, make such a reckless statement on behalf of Northern people?
“Katsina Elders have forgotten how they betrayed Buhari and President Tinubu by their failure to ensure that President Tinubu wins the majority of votes in their state in the 2023 presidential election.
“Is the protest by Katsina Elders during the 2023 presidential election against former President Muhammadu Buhari, who asked them to support President Tinubu, not embarrassing enough?
“Did the Elders forget that Allah says, ‘Power belongs to HIM and can give it to whoever HE wishes at any time HE so desires’?”
Matawalle further asked the elders why they did not ensure that the former President completed the Abuja-Kano-Katsina road and the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua International Airport extension project before leaving office.
“Yet another question for the Katsina Elders is why they did not warn the former President to stop the carnage against the people of Northern Nigeria when banditry and other security challenges persisted?
“Why were the Elders silent on the failures of their own over terrorism and large-scale corruption?
“Let me also draw the attention of the Katsina Elders’ Forum to the fact that when former President Buhari’s Minister of Transportation decided to locate the Transportation University in the former President’s hometown, Daura, other Nigerians did not protest against that decision, as they believed it was in the interest of unity and peaceful coexistence of the country.
“I, therefore, strongly advise the Katsina Elders to think twice and stop heating up the polity, but rather concentrate on what binds Nigerians and Nigeria as an entity for the development of our dear country,” the minister said.