Northerners have reacted to the comment by the former vice president.
A second republic lawmaker, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, said he was engaging in “hyper media” activities in recent times for two major reasons: commercial and business interest and to be in power to make more money.
Junaid was, however, quick to warn that the north in particular and Nigeria in general, was not for sale, adding that he (Atiku) cannot be Nigeria’s president by insulting the north, insisting that Atiku was part of the reasons the region was being vilified by southerners.
He said he came to that conclusion because an average southerner believed that northerners have made so much money through their positions in government and politics in the country.
“Atiku is a scoundrel and a bloody nonentity. He attained political limelight because the late Musa Yar’Adua put him there; today he wants to position himself as the leader of the north. But the north doesn’t give people of no consequence such position. His interest is not really about restructuring. He thinks by insulting the north, the same way we are being insulted by the south, that will give him presidency. With this kind of attitude, he can’t be the president of Nigeria. He will hear from the north at the appropriate time. He is one of those making the south to abuse the north. He is angry because his monopoly in the oil servicing sector has been broken. His wealth will never buy him Nigeria’s presidency. The north is not for sale, Nigeria is not for sale. I pray God sees us beyond 2019, let him challenge me, if he ever becomes Nigeria’s president,” Mohammed fumed.
On his part, former Lagos State Police Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, said Atiku needed to go back to history.
“I disagree with Atiku Abubakar that Northerners who are opposed to restructuring are lazy. Restructuring which provides self-determination to the regions but does not affect the unity and oneness of the country is welcomed. That is the position of most Northerners. Atiku needs to go back to history. What are we restructuring in the first place?”
When contacted, leader of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and second republic minister of steel, Wantareph Paul Unongo, declined to comment, saying, “I will make a statement on it at the appropriate time.”
But the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) General Secretary, Anthony Sani, said: “I would believe the former vice president Atiku has his own reasons for saying that the North opposes restructuring because northerners are lazy. I do not share such views. You would recall we have said that because restructuring means different thing to different groups, we are unable to make any informed decision on the subject matter. This is because there are those clamouring for true federalism, some others for fiscal federalism and some groups hanker for resource control. Yet, we have those who tout resource ownership.
“It is against such backdrop that the Northern states Governors Forum has set up a committee to collate the opinions of stakeholders across the North with a view to informing their position on restructuring for the North. I do not see the wisdom in all the talks about restructuring by some elite, as if they do not know how democracy works. I believe we should let those political parties, which wish to restructure the country by way of far-reaching reforms of the polity to reflect such reforms in their party manifestos and campaigns for the mandate needed for implementation. I think it is undemocratic and morally preposterous to demand restructuring of the country based on recommendations by non-elected platforms or individuals. Let political parties do their job democratically for larger interest.”