A consortium of seventeen groups in the the northern part of Nigeria have reiterated their commitment to the restructuring of the country, but insisted that the North will not succumb to calls to rotate the presidency with the South.
The groups convened in Kaduna, under the banner of the Northern People’s Summit, where they issued a communique, after two days of deliberations, to make known their resolutions.
The communique reads in part: “The Northern Peoples Summit convened on the 7th and 8th April, 2021 at Arewa House, Kaduna, to discuss the issues bedeviling the North and the Nigerian State. These include security, restructuring, economic, politics and the survival of the Nigerian State.”
“After two days’ intensive discussions, the summit resolved as follows:
“To sustain the summit as a productive forum for utilising pan-Northern assets in the search for resolution of Northern problems; To encourage Northern elites and political leadership to improve their levels of sensitivity to inclusiveness and management of the North’s pluralism. The North will be stronger if it addresses its internal weaknesses, particularly around ethnoreligious matters, as it relates to its challenges with the rest of Nigeria. Perception and practise of creating minorities and majorities among Northerners should have no place in the North, nor is discrimination on the basis of place, faith or ethnic group of any Northerner;
“The North believes that restructuring the country is now a vital necessity for survival as one united entity. The North will not be stampeded or blackmailed into taking major decisions around rotating the presidency.“
“The North draws attention of the country to the inherent fragility of the 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 interested 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 demonisation, 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.
“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 North appreciates the response of H.E. Governor of Plateau State and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum (NGF) Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, to its invitation to attend the summit and be a resource person who enriched our discussions.
“The Northern Peoples Summit will reconvene in the near future. Signatories to the communique are Air Marshal Al-amin Daggash, Northern Elders Forum (NEF); Ambassador Ibrahim Mai-Sule, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF); Dr Usman Bugaje, Arewa Research Development Project (ARDP); Engr. Bello Suleiman, Code Group (CG); Dr Sadiq Umar Abubakar Gombe; The Northern Movement (TNM); Dr Innocent Ahure, Northern Development Resource Centre (NDRC); Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, Kano Concern Citizens Initiative (KCCI); Hajiya Bilkisu Oniyangi, Arewa Initiative for Good Governance (AIGG); Dr Rose Danladi Idi, Northern Initiative Forum for Development (NIFD); Nastrura Ashir Shariff, Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG); Yerima Shettima, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF); Murtala Mohammed, Joint Action Comm. of Northern Youth Ass (JACNYA); Comrade D. S. Rimoni, Middle Belt People Assembly (MBPA); Alhaji Muhammed Tahir, Amalgamated Union of Food Stuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria, Alhaji Awual Tukur (Galadiman Delta), Northern Union Rep. South South; Alhaji Iliyasu Yushau (Sarkin Hausawa Onitsha), Northern Union Reps South East; Alhaji Aliyu Yaro, Northern Union Rep. South West and Professor D. D. D. Sheni, Chairman, Communique Drafting Committee.