Why we withdrew the quit notice to Igbos – Arewa youth

The Northern youth coalition led by the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) said the decision to rescind on the quit notice was in order to show respect for President Muhammadu Buhari.

Sequence of events:

  • Northern youth issue quit notice to Igbos – asking them to leave before October 1, 2017. The reason given was that the agitations in the South East by IPOB and others was ‘disrespectful’.
  • Nigerians from all quarters react – Yemi Osinbajo as Acting President met with traditional, political leaders to discuss the rising tensions from the quit notice.
  • Northern governors meet, agree that Igbos must stay.
  • Arewa youth withdraw quit notice.
  • IPOB rejects withdrawal.

Now: 

  • A top member of the coalition that issued the notice, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, said it was in deference to President Buhari. Yerima, who is also the National President of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), however, said the goal of the quit notice was largely achieved as Igbo leaders distanced themselves from the pro-Biafra agitation led by Kanu and his group, IPOB.

Shettima told Vanguard in an interview, “In the first place, we considered the fact that we are not agents of destruction. We are agents of building a progressive Nigeria. You will also recall that the reason we went to the extreme of doing what we did was as a result of the mad agitation coming from the South East. No tribe or people will allow anyone to abuse the sensibility of their leaders and get away with it without any caution. So, we felt that the silence of the leaders and traditional rulers of the South East is a conspiracy of silence to allow Nnamdi Kanu to continue with his quest, we felt there was a need at that time to do what we did.

“Unfortunately, the time has over taken a lot of things but we have seen that political leaders and leaders from the South East have come out to condemn the activities of the young man. The leaders are also coming out to say that they don’t believe in Biafra but in one Nigeria, it is commendable.  There was also pressure and intervention from our leaders, they spoke to us to withdraw the notice and we listened to their counsel. You will also recall that the Sultan of Sokoto called us to intervene, the northern leaders also spoke to us followed by other prominent northern leaders as well as other stakeholders.

“Even before the president’s return, we had written to the Acting President of our plans to withdraw the quit notice on a particular date. We are not ready to join issues. Anyway, there is nothing bad if we honour our president, Mohammadu Buhari. He says he does not want anything that will divide the country. We have obeyed him. If we do that, there is nothing wrong in that. We are proudly Nigerians and he is the President of Nigeria we are looking for ways to build the nation and not destroy the nation.”

On what the quit notice had achieved, the Arewa leader said:

  • First, we have succeeded in exposing the fraud in the agitation, which has been brought to the fore.
  • Also, we have seen southern leaders and traditional rulers from the South East coming out to condemn the Biafran struggle.
  • We are also seeing the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo coming out to talk about a united Nigeria and condemning Biafra. This is commendable and a plus to Nigeria.

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