Former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, Prof. Ango Abdullahi is the ex-husband of Nigeria’s current Minister of Women Affairs. He made headlines recently when he backed a statement by Arewa youths asking Igbos to leave the North on or before October 1, 2017. Abdullahi, who is the spokesperson for the Northern Elders Forum, has in a new interview said Nigeria has been a polarised state for a long time. He, however, revealed why he is in support of Igbos leaving Northern Nigeria.
In his words, Abdullahi said, “The Igbo said they want to leave Nigeria. They have been saying this for a long time. They have wanted to leave Nigeria since 1967, when we had the civil war and they have not stopped asking to leave Nigeria. So this time, the youths must have seen that they needed help to leave Nigeria and it is a good thing if they can mobilise themselves back from every part of Nigeria, including the North of course, to go back home and really concentrate on building the Biafra state they have been dreaming about. And we will support them; I will support them in that direction.
“I am not rewriting history. My teacher in Barewa College has compiled the economic status of Nigeria from 1914 to 1960 and if you care to find that document, you will find what the financial relationships were between the Federal and the regional governments and how funds were moving from one part of the country to the other. That is one. You can look for it, you will get it. I can also tell you that the resources of the North were the basic sources of infrastructural development in this country, talking about the railway, the ports and so on and so forth. There is no question about that one. Also without doubt, the resources of the North were used for the exploitation of oil.
“You go and ask the first Minister of Mines, Power and Steel Resource (that was in charge of the oil portfolio in the First Republic), who is the longest serving up till date, Maitama Sule, he served as minister for six years. Shell asked him, this money that you are taking from the North, is it an investment or a loan? And our leaders at the time said the money belonged to a part of Nigeria and one day, the whole of Nigeria would benefit from it. So you see when some stupid comments keep coming from people who really did nothing about oil industry development and so on, I call oil money idle money.
“This is money that Nigerians have not worked for. The development of a country is not dependent on idle funds, which oil money is. You have to work for things and that is why from northern Nigeria where farmers are toiling to feed the country, they send goods outside the country and so on. Up till 1974, the foreign exchange of this country was dependent on exports of agricultural products, mostly from the North. So if people are not quite literate about the history of Nigeria, they should please go and read a lot more and they will be able to understand what I am saying.”