Yemi Adedeji, Abuja
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) and 16 other leading groups have lamented that President Muhammadu Buhari and other politicians of northern extraction have failed the region.
The groups said that no northern politician should expect to be voted for in the next general elections unless they demonstrate a willingness to champion a massive assault on poverty and underdevelopment in the North.
The groups asserted that most political office holders from the North are hereby served a notice that they have failed the test to lead the region towards economic recovery and growth.
The groups, in a communique, said politicians from the region had failed the North because they were unable to address the the problems of the region, especially in security and poverty.
This declaration was made at the end of a Summit of northern groups held at the residence of the late Premier of the defunct Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Arewa House, Kaduna.
Signatories to the communique included Prof. Ango Abdullahi (Chairman ACF Political Committee/Convener, Northern Elders Forum); Dr. Yima Sen (NEF); Amb. Ibrahim Mai Sule (ACF); Bello Suleiman (CODE Group); Mataimaki Maiyashi, (Arewa Research Development Project); Zannah Boguma (Borno Elders Forum); Nafiu Baba-Ahmed (Supreme Council for Shariah in Nigeria), and Dr. Ibrahim Yakubu Lame (Northern Union) among others.
Giving reasons for passing a vote of no confidence in its political leaders, the groups noted that since 2015, northerners had occupied positions with the potential to make decisive differences in the economy, security and political fortunes in the region.
They, however, noted that northern political leaders had failed on all fronts, hence the call on them to sit up and take notice or be voted out in 2019.
The groups noted that while the people of the region are now fighting for morsels, the leaders think of new ways to turn people’s misery into electoral capital.
The group stated categorically that in spite of notable successes by the Buhari administration against the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East, many northern communities still live under its threat.
The communiqué reads: “The hopes that leaders who have been in power since 2015 will reverse the abuse and neglect of the region in the previous decade have been betrayed.
“Weak governance, gross insensitivity and unacceptable levels of incompetence have been compounded by battles of attrition in which northerners have sapped one another’s strength.
“Weak and incoherent responses to provocations from other parts of the country around the imperatives of re-visiting the foundations and structures of the Nigerian state have created the false image of a North without its own positions beyond survival as the parasite of Nigeria.
“The historic gains in the northern political unity secured by northern votes in the 2015 elections have been wasted by the poor management of conflicts between and among northern communities.
“Today, northern communities are erecting barricades against members of other communities, and politicians who have failed to lead and make impacts in the lives of the poor and the vulnerable are daily feeding the people with hate and resentment instead of searching for genuine and lasting solutions.”
“In many other parts of the North, communities are routinely exposed to attacks from shadowy killers, while suspicion and anger against the suspected killers is pitching northerners against one other.”
The groups therefore, warned that “no northern politician should expect to be voted for in the next general election unless they demonstrate a willingness to champion a massive assault on poverty and underdevelopment in the North.”
In this regard, they added, “Most political office holders from the North are hereby served a notice that they have failed the test to lead the region towards economic recovery and growth.”
They emphasised the rights of all northerners to examine all options in political choices they would make in 2019.
“The leadership selection process must be critically interrogated to present the best leader to Nigeria as a whole. No one should take the North for granted, and it is not for sale.”