2023: Northern Elders Forum, CNG, ACF, others reject zoning

…Back restructuring

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Northern Elders Forum, (NEF), Coalition of Northern Groups, (CNG), Arewa Consultative Forum, (ACF) and other conveners of the Northern Peoples Summit have described restructuring as a vital necessity for survival as one united entity.

The North, they insisted, will not be stampeded or blackmailed into taking major decisions around rotating the Presidency.

While reading the communiqué of Northern Peoples Summit yesterday at the Arewa House Kaduna, the Chairman of the Communiqué Drafting Committee, Prof.Doknan Danjuma Sheni, said, “The Northern Peoples Summit convened on the 7th and 8th April 2021 at Arewa House, Kaduna discussed issues bedevilling the North and the Nigerian State.

“These include security, restructuring, economic, political and the survival of the Nigerian State. After two days’ intensive discussions, they resolved to sustain the Summit as a productive forum for utilising Pan-Northern assets in the search for resolution of Northern problems.

According to him, the Summit also resolved to encourage Northern elites and political leadership to improve their levels of sensitivity to inclusiveness and management of the North’s pluralism.

He added that, “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 practice 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”.

“For Nigeria to survive, all parts of the country must equally commit to supporting its continuation as one entity, without equivocation or subterfuge”, he emphasised.

“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 Summit however urged 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”, he stated.

He added that “The North resolved that there should be government-backed negotiations and dialogue with the bandits, Boko Haram and affected communities for effective peace in the North.

“We appreciate the response of Plateau State Governor and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum (NGF), Simon 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,” he said.

The communiqué was co-signed by representatives of the various groups at the summit such as Air Marshal Al-Amin Daggash of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Amb. Ibrahim Mai-Sule of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Dr. Usman Bugaje of Arewa Research Development Project (ARDP), Engr. Bello Suleiman of Code Group (CG),Dr. Sadiq Umar Abubakar Gombe of The Northern Movement (TNM), amongst others.

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