Former Niger State Commissioner for Information, Culture, and Tourism and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Jonathan Vatsa, has noted that the era of using ethnic and religious identity to attract sympathy or favour is over in the north.
Vatsa, who spoke in Minna, was reacting to the recent attack against FCT Minister Nyesom Wike by Islamic cleric Sheikh Ahmed Gumi over which region should produce the FCT minister.
Gumi’s engagement with bandits in the forest has made him lose touch with reality in the north, Vatsa said.
According to him: “Any region that is laying claim to the ownership of Abuja is indirectly laying claim to the ownership of Nigeria. Abuja, as it is today, was developed with resources from all over Nigeria, be it from oil, cattle rearing, and cocoa, among others.”
He further stated: “If Nigeria were to be a country with proper means of identification of who is truly a Nigerian, some people wouldn’t have been allowed to contribute to national discourse. So whatever Gumi, who is a political cleric, says or is saying today, I don’t blame him, because in Nigeria, we don’t have means of proper identification to know those who are Nigerians and [those] who are immigrants.”
The APC chieftain insisted that it is easier to claim citizenship in Nigeria.
Your passport is just to be either a Muslim or a Christian and speak Hausa or any indigenous language. That is also why we are having this high level of security challenges all over the country,” he said.
Vatsa further maintained that if there is any region today that should agitate for the Minister of the Federal Capital, it should be Niger State, whose land makes up 80 per cent of Abuja.