…To convene political summit March 15
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA – AHEAD of 2019 general elections, a group of elders and stakeholders in the North have begun moves aimed at getting a consensus presidential candidate from the zone.
A committee has already been set up to search for and present such a candidate.
Another committee was set up to look at the desirability or otherwise of the restructuring of Nigeria, just as they approved the holding of a political summit, tagged “Northern Political Submit” on March 15, 2018. They said this was to commemorate the attainment of self-government of the Northern region in 1959.
They blamed governors for most of the problems in the region and called for efforts to reduce their powers.
A communiqué released to the media after the meeting, by chairman of the Communiqué Drafting Committee and one of the conveners, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, showed that the group also set up other committees, top among which was the one saddled with the responsibility of x-raying factors/issues that have caused crises in the region.
“The communique read thus:”This meeting is hereby established as a standing forum for the Northern Region to be known as Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF).
“Five Sub-Committees are hereby set up to address the various issues challenging the Northern Region. The sub-committee during the summit are:Security Sub-Committee;Political Sub-Committee;Northern Unity Sub-Committee;The 2019 Election Sub-Committee and the Restructuring of Nigeria Sub-Committee.”
“The details of the members will be announced in due course.
“The Secretariat of this conversation is hereby transformed into the Central Secretariat for the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) to which Dr Umar Ardo is to serve as Secretary and Commodore Isaac M Mankilik (rtd) as Deputy Secretary.
“The meeting has approved the holding of a Northern Political Submit on 15th March, 2018 to commemorate the attainment of self-government of the Northern Region in 1959.
“The reports of the committees will be delivered and deliberated at the said Northern political summit. The conveners of this forum are to organise a Northern summit on the 15th March 2018.
According to the communiqué, the following were the observations at the meeting:”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.
“Stakeholders are reminded of the need to remain focus and active in view of time limit to national programmes.
“North has allowed divisions along primordial lines and our Government at states levels are 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.”
The communiqué read further:” The conversation amongst the Northern Elders and Stakeholders was convened after due consideration of the current political situation in the country.
“ It was convened by Dr. Bello Haliru Mohammed, OFR (Dan Galadiman Gwandu), Sen. Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu, CFR (Former Deputy Senate President) and Sen. Paul Wampana (Zannan Mubi).
“The forum drew from the wisdom and intellectual capital of a wide number of recognized Northern Elders and Major Stakeholder in the Nigerian project.
“The aim of the conversation was to deliberate on the best way forward for the Region. The objectives of the conversation were: “To review the general security situation in the North and proffer viable solution;
“To appraise 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 citizen in the southern zones;
“To examine the causes of conflict among Northerners and suggest practical ways and means of attaining functional unity;
“To discuss and suggest the best mode of maximizing Northern advantages in the 2019 general elections;
“To impress upon our people to register and have their PVCs; and
“To discuss and formulate the stand of the North on the various issues raised.
“To agree for a Northern Political Summit to hold on 15th March 2018.
“To discuss any other business that could further embellish the main aim of the conversation.
“ The conversation was chaired by Alh. Tanko Yakasai, OFR. In attendance were participants drawn from the 19 Northern States as singed below.
“Dr. Bello Moh’d Haliru presented an Opening Address. Eminent discussants and stakeholders at the forum deliberated extensively on the presentation and the highlighted objectives.
“Two key remarks set the stage for the conversation. First, the welcome address which was delivered by Dr Bello Mohammed Haliru, Dan Galadiman Gwandu, the trust of the remark was the need for unity amongst the Northerners and call for the Region to make responsibly decisions of matters that concern especially the choice of its leaders. The second address was by Alhaji Tanko Yakasai and the focus was the need to demonstrate symbolic cultural and political unity amongst the Northerners.
“He expresses the problem of loss of confidence between the Government and the citizenry, calls for functional regional unity; calls for the need to establish a platform, hence the essence of the meeting. Henceforth, the North is to promulgate a platform of unity of purpose.
“ Generally, the remarks highlighted issues of retrogressing such as tribal conflicts, ethnic and religious configurations.”