…Accuses Southern political elites of intimidating it
By Bashir Bello
KATSINA – Northern Senators Forum on Wednesday concluded it two days retreat failing to reach a concensus and providing a clear stand or position for the region on the much agitated restructuring.
A communique by the Chairman of the forum, Senator Abdullahi Adamu which was read to newsmen by Senator Sabi Abdullahi from Niger State, at the end of the retreat held in Katsina, maintained that the North shall take a well articulated, firm and common position on the issue.
Senator Abdullahi accused political elites from of the other region of intimidating it with the term restructuring saying it paint the region as a weak link, parasitic and unproductive region that brings nothing to the dining table.
He said the North is not afraid of restructuring provided it guarantees justice, equity, fairness and the unity of all Nigerians.
According to him, “The North as a region is not afraid of any sensible and meaningful arrangement provided it guarantees justice, equity, fairness and the unity of all Nigerians irrespective of religion, region, age and sex as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“That the North shall take a well articulated, firm and common position on the issue of restructuring. Northern members of the National Assembly should be an integral part of achieving that common platform that should also include devolution of power to states and local government.
“That there is the need for the North to stand united irrespective of political, ethnic or religious differences,” they said.
The Senators resolved that the leadership from the region should demonstrate the political will to serve as growth driver by strengthening governance and formulating plans that can develop the critical value chain of the activities of the region in which it has comparative and competitive advantages.
On Agriculture, the Senators resolved that, “the Agricultural industrial and manufacturing sectors should be revived and transformed so that the teaming youths from the region could be actively engaged and empowered in order to keep them away from crimes.”
On Education, the Senators resolved to amend Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) to ensure primary education is compulsory while also noting that efforts will be made to establish, staff and equip more learning institutions, promote girl – child education.
“Infrastructure gap in the region shall be bridged through interstate partnership with active private sector participation. That States from the region shall as a matter of urgency start planning for post-oil era by improving their internally generated revenue and revamp the comatose industries in the region so as to provide employment opportunities to their people.
“There is urgent need to design and all embarking marshal plan for the development of the region.
“The Northern Senators Forum has resolved to partner with their counterparts in the House of Representative and the Northern Governors Forum and other critical stakeholders in the North to designed a marshal plan for Northern region’s development.
“That National Assembly members shall take their oversight functions seriously to ensure meaningful implementation of all Federal budget provisions as it affects the three zones from the region,” the Senators noted.
The Senators however resolved to amend the 1999 constitution to accommodate the traditional institutions by providing them specific roles and responsibilities.