By Lateef Ibrahim
As the race for 2019 gathers momentum, a new political group, made up
of some Northern elders and leaders, has emerged with the primary objective of forging unity in the region and ensuring that the next president is the choice of the region.
The group, comprising elder statesmen, former governors, former federal lawmakers and other leaders from the region, met yesterday in Abuja and resolve to form a body known as Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF).
The chairman of NPLF and Elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassi, declared that the North appeared to be passing through its most trying times since amalgamation in 1914.
A co-convener of the Forum and former minister of defence, Dr Halliru Bello Mohammed, declared that the North should unite to ensure that it produces a president of its choice unlike previous ones who were imposed on the region.
The event was jointly convened by Mohammed; former deputy senate president, Sen Ibrahim Mantu; and Sen Paul Wanpana.
The Northern leaders while decrying the state of insecurity in their region, berated the governors of the region for their inability to maintain fairness, equity and social cohesion in business of governance, especially on government appointments and empowerment. They also chided the governors for what they term their detrimental approach to issues of Northern unity.
The leaders however resolved to hold a Northern Political Summit on March 15, 2018 to commemorate the attainment of self-government of the Northern Region in 1959.
The group, therefore, formed a five sub-committees, namely; Security, Political, Northern Unity, the 2019 Election and Restructuring of Nigeria.
According to the communique issued at the end of the meeting and signed by Sen Mantu on behalf of the NPLF, “the meeting observed that Governors were seriously indicted for inability to maintain fairness, equity and social cohesion in business of governance especially on government appointments and empowerment.
“Most appointees were being married to nepotism as a new phenomenon rearing its ugly heads in the region.
“The Governors were challenged to change their disposition and borrow a lead from Sardauna and his key officers for change for the better in larger interest of the North.
“The Governors were also reminded of their detrimental approach to issues of Northern unity; employing series examples like giving support to third term or tenure elongation of Obasanjo and their open disregards to unity of purposes.
“Stakeholders were enjoined to change their profile and desist from paying lip services and double standard to ensure a functional Northern Region.
“Pay attention to good leadership and discontinue with recruitment of half baked or non educated people in leadership spectrum. People should be trained to take up leadership and put a stop to capacity solution. Let us be strategic in thinking affectively.
“It has been established that North has lost her leadership for a long time and there was no any mechanism put in place to rectify this damaging situation.
“It has also identified security architecture being drastically collapsing and there is no attempt to arrest the problem. Other problems like poverty, education and empowerment are also lingering.
“Call for reorientation especially among the youth for better North was made. There should be marshal plants to achieve the objectives.
“There was problem of policies summersault, and negligence of social welfare and brutal above of opportunities.
“It has been observed that the forum should continue as non partisan but political, non ethic and non religious for viable resolutions and reliable forum.
“North has allowed divisions along primordial lines and our Government at states levels bring little on nothing to overcome these shortcomings. Therefore, stakeholders should pay special attention to 2019 elections as united force without any tear.
“Identify contradictions and proffer solutions to them. There should be deliberate efforts to return power to the people.
“There should be effort to dilute the powers of monopoly of the Governors who do what they wish outside the tenant of democracy. This is a forum to correct wrongs committed with a view to ensuring entrenchment of democracy at all levels”, the communique said.
The communique stressed further that the group discussed the general security situation in the North; appraised the current state of politics in the North in relation to the unfolding national political dynamics with a view to creating a common Northern position for alliance with “our fellow citizens in the southern zones; examined the causes of conflict among Northerners and suggested practical ways and means of attaining functional unity.
They also deliberated on the best mode of maximizing Northern advantages in the 2019 general elections; impress upon their people to register and have their PVCs; and formulation of the stand of the North on the various issues raised.
Some of the dignitaries at the event are: former governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu; former governor of Kogi State Ibrahim Idris;
Bala Mohammed; Sen Jeremiah Useni; former governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada; Prof Auwal Yadudu; Shehu Gabam.
Others are former governor of Sokoto State, Attahiru Bafarawa; Prof Ango Abdullahi; former governor of Adamawa State, Boni Haruna; Sen Solomon Ewuga; former speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Na’aba; Dr Umar Ardo; Engr Buba Galadima.