A voluntary organization that promotes peace and development in northern Nigeria, Arewa New Agenda (ANA), has raised concern over calls to sack the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume.
The ANA members led by its Convener and Chairman of Arewa New Agenda, Sen. Ahmad Abubakar MoAllahyidi, voiced their concern in a statement on Saturday.
The statement read in part: “At the heart of the matter is the recent statement by Chief Audu Ogbe, a respected elder statesman, who called for the removal of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume. Chief Ogbe led a press conference that brought together stakeholders from the Idoma community, expressing their dissatisfaction with the appointment of a Tiv nominee as a minister from Benue State. The stakeholders argued that the move further marginalized the Idoma ethnic group within the State”.
ANA acknowledged the democratic right of Chief Ogbe and his fellow stakeholders to express their opinions on the issue. However, the group raised concerns about the subsequent claims that the appointment was orchestrated by SGF Akume to marginalize the Idoma community. ANA emphasized that such allegations could potentially send a misleading message to the Nigerian public.
The statement further said, “Sen. Akume’s appointment as SGF was initially met with widespread acceptance from various political and social circles across the country. His inclusion was perceived as a balancing factor, crucial for maintaining political stability after the closely contested 2023 presidential election”.
ANA highlighted that Akume’s appointment was a strategic choice to represent the northern region, particularly the northern Christian block, in President Tinubu’s cabinet.
ANA firmly asserted that the significance of Akume’s role transcended local politics in Benue State. They underscored that he played a crucial role in maintaining political equilibrium on a national level. The group expressed its disappointment that Chief Ogbe’s comments had exposed him to criticism, and they called on him and others to retract their statements for the sake of northern unity and broader national cohesion.
Touching on the recent political tensions within Benue State, ANA urged the state’s elder statesmen to step up and ensure peace prevails, preventing further disruption. They reminded the public that the president holds the prerogative to appoint the SGF and that the choice is made based on competence and loyalty. Similarly, the appointment of Federal Ministers adheres to the constitutional requirement of fair representation, ensuring that each state is represented in the cabinet.
In closing, the ANA called on President Ahmed Bola Tinubu to remain steadfast in the face of these challenges and to focus on his Renewed Hope agenda, which aims to uplift the nation through people-oriented policies.
The forum encouraged all northerners to rally behind SGF Akume and support his efforts as a pivotal figure within the President Tinubu-led administration.
The Arewa New Agenda re-affirmd the group’s commitment to fostering unity, peace, and progress in Nigeria.
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