Seventeen Northern groups which include the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Northern Elders Forum (NEF) yesterday rose from their Northern Peoples Summit, venting their anger on President Muhammadu Buhari, and governors of the region that the North is worse off and now a sinking ship under their leadership. They also contended that in all indices of human existence, the region is now going down and worse off.
The Northern Peoples Summit was convened between April 7 and 8 at Arewa House in Kaduna, Kaduna State to discuss issues bedeviling the North and the Nigerian state which include insecurity, restructuring, economic, politics and the survival of Nigerian state as a united entity. A 12-point communiqué read by the Chairman of the Communiqué Drafting Committee, Professor Doknan Sheni, also posited that restructuring has now become critical to the survival of the country as an indivisible entity. Other signatories include, Air Marshal Al-amin Daggash (Rtd) who signed for Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Amb. Ibrahim Mai- Sule signed for Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), while Dr. Usman Bugaje signed for Arewa Research Development Project (ARDP), among others. Part of the communiqué reads: “The North invites the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari, Northern Governors and legislators to the fact that under their watch the North has sunk lower in all indices of human existence.
“Delegates at the Summit commit to continuously engage in searching for solutions, as well as raising their voices against poor governance, corruption and absence of commitment to deal with insecurity, poverty and hopelessness among Northerners. “Government should show effective presence in all ungoverned spaces in the North. “The North resolves that there should be government- backed negotiations and dialogue with the bandits, Boko Haram and affected communities for effective peace in the North.”
The summit also resolves: “To encourage Northern elites and political leadership to improve their levels of sensitivity to inclusiveness and management of the North’s pluralism. ‘‘North will be stronger if it addresses its internal weaknesses particularly around ethno-religious matters as it relates to its challenges with the rest of Nigeria. Perception and practice of creating minorities and majorities among Northerners should have no place in the North, nor is discrimination on basis of place, faith or ethnic group of any Northerner” The groups also said that: “The North believes that restructuring the country is now a vital necessity to survival as one united entity.”
adding however that “The North will not be stampeded or blackmailed into taking major decision around rotating the Presidency.” The communiqué further stated that: “The North draws attention of the country to the inherent fragility of Nigerian state. For Nigeria to survive, all parts of the country must equally commit to supporting its continuation as one entity, without equivocation or subterfuge. The North extends an invitation to groups that are genuinely nterested in discussing the future of the country.
‘‘The North believes that every interest can be accommodated in one united, just and equitable nation, but the North cannot be the sole custodian of this endeavour. “The North warns against the continuation of demonization, attacks and killings of Northerners in the Southern parts of the country.
It demands that federal and state governments must take firmer steps to protect members of Northern communities who live in the South. This includes the arrest and prosecution of persons who are involved in these dangerous activities. “The North urges Northern communities to continue to exercise restraint and be good hosts. “To sustain the Summit as a productive forum for utilizing Pan-Northern assets in the search for resolution of Northern problems”.