Following the open letter released by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, the Coalition of Northern Groups has stated that the only way to solve the problems in Nigeria is through a peaceful referendum.

The group further stated that those behind the crisis in the country should not be allowed to participate in the peaceful talk of the way out.

Africa News24 (AN24) recall ex-President Obasanjo had written an open letter to Muhammadu Buhari on the security lapses that threaten the very existence of the country and the seeming non-existence of government or apparent loss of control by the President.

Reacting to the letter, the CNG through its spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, on Monday, wrote, “We equally differ on the categories of stakeholders to be contacted for such dialogue suggested by Obasanjo. We submit that contrary to Obasanjo’s suggestions, all those directly or remotely responsible for this situation, from whichever region, should not be allowed to participate in any talks that we hope would ultimately lead to a peaceful referendum.”

“We are thus in partial agreement with Obasanjo that the nation needs to sit and hold genuine talks and dialogue if we are to continue as one country. What we are however not comfortable with is the usual peripheral approach to such discussions that have all along failed to address the real issues at stake.”

“If after about six decades of Independent existence, we still have not achieved true nationhood based on mutual trust and collective patriotism, the bold and necessary step to take should be a dispassionate review and renegotiation of the bond through a referendum.”

The groups stated that those who should be involved in the peace talks should be in the age bracket of 50 years and below with the remaining 15 per cent coming from over generations.

“This is because while the stated age bracket represents the actual generation of Nigerians that really feel the pain of the situation and are in the best position to chart a better course for the country in which they have so much at stake, the older generations are made up of mostly those who benefited more from Nigeria and are responsible for its current multiple worries.”

“We make this submission not unmindful of the fact that no national conference has ever worked in this country and are not confident that anything short of a referendum can solve Nigeria’s problems.”

CNG observed, “We hereby state that we share the concerns expressed in a statesman-like manner by the former President, especially with regards to the disturbing security situation and the seeming non-existence of government or apparent loss of control by the President.”