Northern Peoples Summit: Stakeholders Chart Way forward On Burning Issues

Northern Peoples Summit: Stakeholders Chart Way forward On Burning Issues
Zainab Tanimu
Kaduna, North – West, Nigeria
Relevant Stakeholders on Wednesday converged in Kaduna to brainstorm and chart a way forward on burning issues militating against the peace and economic stability of the north.
Among these burning issues brought to fore were that of insecurity in the region and that of leadership.
Convener of the summit, Chairman of the Northern Elder’s Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi in his opening remarks noted that rather than lamentations,
 all hands need to be on deck to transform the region from its present state.
The state of insecurity in the north has become issue of great concern and needs to be urgently addressed.
Terrorism, kidnapping, Banditry, as well the recent maiming and destruction of properties of people needs to be quickly addressed before the region is consumed by its problem. He emphasized.
” We have lamented enough. We have blamed each other too long. We have been fighting the wrong enemy and the real enemy has found accommodation and space amongst us. It is  time to turn a new chapter in our lives. It is time to stop running and face our challenges squarely. It is time to tell ourselves some truths, heal wounds and re-engineer a resolve to stop the rot in the North.
 ” From this point on, we will not accept to live with excuses; we will begin a new chapter that should give new generations of northerners hope, certainty, opportunities and a sense of worth which they so richly deserve. We should make a solemn promise”.
Stressing on attitudinal change towards identifying the root causes of the present menace of banditry, insurgency and other vices wrecking the north, he said.
” Banditry, insurgency, cultism, piracy and irredentism are threats to the national, and they must be treated with a mindset that appreciates their root, complexities and solutions in a national context. As Northerners, we know that the roots of banditry in which Fulani are substantially involved has a very young roots, and it is  still possible to eliminate it, provided we deploy resources and resourceful attitude towards dealing with it.
Prof. Abdullahi Ango called on the
Federal and northern state Governments to design and implement plans for the domestication of herders and improvements in the quality of life of Fulani herding communities.
He stated that Boko Haram and Armed Fulani criminal activities both threaten every Nigerian in equal measure.
Therefore, rather than viewing the problem as that of the North, Kanuri or Fulani, it should be seen as national problems.
Adding that ” those who think they can solve criminality amongst elements of Fulani through ethnic cleansing make a  terrible mistake. It is not just the Fulani with an AK47 that needs to be eliminated. Every community harbours people who can buy AK47s and do what the criminal Fulani does. The Nigerian states must come to terms with the reality that its legitimate monopoly over the use of violence has been severely damaged, and it cannot build straw fences around communities to give the a false sense of security. It us also time to re-evaluate the utility of our current security arrangements as a federal system, and address limitations which encourage the criminals to make us all victims without relief. ”
On the issue of leadership,
the foral urged Nigerians to vote for competent, rather than voting along ethnic and religious line. This is the only way to ensure good leadership.
Prof. Abdullahi said the days of voting those who have always turned their back to their electorate after election is over,  the north he stressed will  not vote any leader into office based on ethnic or religious line come 2023.
It should signal a new era in collaboration between those who hold power, and those who have a duty to support them to succeed”.
” It is not acceptable that serious issues which represent genuine improvements in our governance structures should wait for the pleasure of our legislators or the presidency.
” Nigerian should encourage a citizen-driven review of our foundations and systems, and democratically put in place leaders who will address them as matters of national survival or collapse.
The basic rights of Nigerians to vote for candidate of their choices cannot be taken away by threats of blackmail.
“In this respect, we should advise those who conflate the vital national imperative to restructure with issues of rotation or zoning the presidency to avoid doing major injury to our future as a nation. No one will quarrel with the decision of any political party to zone political offices and canvass for votes around them. Those parties who do this also have the responsibility to convince Nigerians over the utility and other values behinds them.
Ango argued that,
“Northerners voters have supported three southerners, Abiola, Obasanjo and Jonathan to victory in the past, two of them against northerners. Northerners voters are enlightened and conscious of their responsibilities. They have learnt, perhaps at greater cost than most Nigerians, that ethnicity and faith alone do not make good leaders.
He further explained that they will not accept to be further weakened so that they abandon the same rights all Nigerians enjoy. Those politicians who want northeners to vote in a particular manner should soil their boots and convince northerners how their candidates will improve security, economy and society in the north and the country. Using restructuring as a threat or bargaining tool for accepting zoning will destroy the imperatives of restructuring and imperil the country”
” Politicians and leaders who desire to lead need to understand that Nigerians are watching what they do in their immediate constituencies that will entitle them to ask for our support. We should speak frankly and directly to the rest of Nigeria on this issue politicians who cannot impose their influence on irredentist that threaten our corporate existence and the lives and livelihood of our fellow northerners stand on very thin ground in our estimations. Politicians who cannot or will not influence public sentiments which demonizes our fellow northern and leaves then open to attack will not weigh much on our consideration as leaders under whom we will feel safe and secure”
Speaking on behalf of Arewa Consultative forum Sen. Ibrahim ida said, the north is at a crossroad. He called for internal cohesion through elite consensus to move the region forward.
Sen. Ibrahim noted that the north has enemies within, as such needs to ” turn them round and make them see things our own. ”
” We are the Fabric holding Nigeria together, we are being provoked, let’s change the template, portray our interest in the way we want it ”. Ensuring that at the end,  nobody takes them for granted. He stated.
Contributing, one of the panel of discussants at the summit Hon. Bilkisu Olayangi said there are certain criteria expected of a good leader.
According to her, a good leader must have vision, capacity and diplomacy.
” With vision, you know where you want to take your people to.
When you have capacity, you think of how to replicate it in your society. You look at those things that will make the society flourish.
Looking at history, she said the north has not fared well in politics.
She questioned the modalities with which leaders are being chosen. Asking such burning questions like, How well have we come to the round table to actually choose our leaders? How have we sanitized the public? How do we define ourselves?  Going forward should be what occupies our minds.
Vision, capacity and diplomacy are key elements to choosing good leaders and coming together as one is a necessity to ensuring a united Nigeria. She emphasized.
According to her,
” history has shown that from 1999, the north has only been throwing its politics away. ”
Hon. Olayangi called on the need for people to learn a trade rather than relying solely on western education.
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