‘’Let it be known that we are not intimidated by call for restructuring of the nation, our concern is how the right issues are placed on the table with the objective that provides meaningful arrangement tailoring it with justice, fairness and unity of all Nigerians’’
This was part of submissions following a two-day retreat by the Northern Senators Forum (NSF) in Katsina State yesterday.
It described the matter as ambiguous, even to “proponents, without clear terms and directions on how to go about it”, adding, the North would, at a later date, take a “well articulated, firm and common position” on restructuring, in collaboration with other northern members of the National Assembly.
The Forum also resolved to map out a Marshall Plan for development of the region, saying the proposal would be carried out in partnership with critical stakeholders, its House of Representatives counterpart and the Northern Governors Forum.
A communiqué signed by NSF chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, said the Plan would be all-embracing.
The retreat discussed “the huge infrastructural deficit” in the North, noting that this challenge has weighed down socio-economic advancement, hence “the need to design an all-embracing Marshall Plan for the development of the region”.
The NSF said: “The insecurity of lives and property and the lack of capacity of the state to adequately guarantee the most fundamental of rights are the most critical challenges facing the region in particular and the country in general.
“The prevalent ethno-religious crises in the region are politically motivated and have little or nothing to do with religion. The alarming statistics of out-of-school children and the number of learning institutions in the region explains why it is educationally and economically backward, in addition to poor budgetary funding and bad governance.”
Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki had declared the retreat open on Tuesday, with the governors of Katsina, Kebbi, Borno and Sokoto in attendance, alongside Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, former Inspector-General of Police Ibrahim Coomasie, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Dr. Usman Bugaje and others.
Speaking earlier, the Sultan urged politicians to improve the lives of Nigerians, berating those who merely use the electorate to win votes. He also called on government at all levels to implement programmes that could move the country forward.
The Middle Belt Youth Council meanwhile has said, “After extensive consultations among the youth and with our elders, (we) have come to the conclusion that it will be a disservice and disaster for Nigeria to elect either of these tired old men,” referring to President Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.
“We, the determined youth of the Middle Belt, hereby reject both Buhari and Atiku in the 2019 presidential elections. We shall identify and promote a more competent, compassionate and cosmopolitan leader who would rise above tribe and religion to foster unity, justice, and equity across the country. Nigeria needs a new leadership free from the pride, prejudice, and baggage of the past to take the nation to the next level,” said the president of the group, Comrade Emma Zopmal, in a statement yesterday.
He added: “Both of them have nothing new to offer Nigeria to turn around our situation. Their desperation for power is a result of past personal frustrations and desires to settle scores. These men can only worsen the ethnic and religious conflicts bedeviling the North and the rest of Nigeria. We need to look beyond these two. The two men are experts in unkept promises. Atiku’s false support for restructuring is just a vote catching bait. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived again.”