Friday 7 December 2012

20 Years Will Pass Before the North Recovers – Abdulsalami

According to former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, it will be at least 20 years before the North clears the mess created by the security crisis.
The ongoing Boko Haram insurgency has held the North down, killing thousands of people, crippling businesses and reversing the gains of education.
Also yesterday, President Goodluck Jonathan called upon North-Eastern political leaders to explore a long-lasting solution to the menace of the sect. He made this statement at the opening of the North-East Summit hosted by Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda at the Yankari Games Reserve.
General Abdulsalami, who was speaking at the Arewa House conference on strategies for sustainable development in Kaduna, bemoaned the lack of unity among Northerners. He said insecurity has done so much damage to the social and economic livelihood of the region.

The former Head of State said, “Certainly, if there is unity, we wouldn’t be here at this conference and since there is no unity, that is why Arewa House is trying to galvanize it at this conference.
“It will take 20 years to revive the North. A lot of socio-economic damage has been done. If you go round the areas; that is when you will appreciate the extent of damage to the region. We have to work together to revive it.
“All of us should join hands; we cannot leave security to the government alone; every Nigerian is a security officer. Let’s try to join hands and report what we see, so that the government will be able to take action. We should be the government’s watchdogs and also watch our communities.”
The Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, on his own part, expressed sadness that the North was no longer safe for both its people and visitors. He implored the people to imbibe hard work, integrity, honesty, respect and determination to restore the lost glory of the region.
According to him, an atmosphere without peace will make it impossible to achieve development, no matter how determined the actors were.
“The theme of this conference bears direct relevance to what is happening in the North. The topic for today is value and leadership. I do not intend to go into the conceptual definition of values and leadership.
“In every society, there are norms and values. These are highly respected; respect for sanctity of human life, and where this is not respected, there is no way you can have peace. This is a very big challenge, particularly in the North.
“I am very sad things are happening in the way they are happening now. I was in Borno about six months ago when my friend and brother, Governor Kashim Shettima, gave out his sister in marriage.
“We were about 30 that were supposed to go to Borno, but in the end, only 8 of us went. The others gave different reasons for not making it. We must imbibe the values of honour, respect, integrity, hard work and determination because they have a direct bearing on the development of the North.”
Former Secretary of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Hakeem Baba-Ahmed posited that the next two years would act as a test case for the country and the North’s case to bounce back to reckoning.
“The next two years will test the resilience of the Nigerian State and the capacity of Northerners to bounce back. Right now, the Boko Haram insurgency is eating up like a cancer, and it will require bold initiatives by Northerners to find a solution, by influencing both the insurgency and the government.
“Not all Nigerians are comfortable with a united and strong North. Its current position is therefore a welcome development to its rivals and detractors. They will not lift a finger to heal the wound. This will have to be done by people in this hall who feel the pain the most.
Meanwhile, at the two-day Northeast Alliance for Transformation which commenced yesterday, the President, who was represented by the Minister for National Planning, Dr Shamsudeen Usman, asked the six governors in the zone to come up with a framework for addressing insecurity. He also expressed happiness that the governors were waking up to deal with the security crisis.
“I hope this summit will not just be a talk show; I hope you will identify at least four to five ways in tackling these problems in the next one year. Governors of Northeast region should work collectively to solve this problem in order to have peace in the region because insecurity is a reality in the region,” he said.
The host governor Isa Yuguda, in describing the summit as historic, said, “For quite a long time, the sub region has remained one of the least developed, if not the least developed of the six geo-political zones in the country in all spheres of human endeavour.” The Governor, while lamenting that the underdevelopment in the Northeast had been compounded by the security challenges which have adversely affected the socio-economic activities in the region, said that the problem of the region was not a lack of resources but failure to harness the abundant resources for its development socially and economically.
“It is expected that at the end of this summit, recommendations for setting in motion the machinery for the Northeast sub region to use its comparative advantages in agriculture, solid minerals and tourism to fast track the development of the region will be made.”
Mike Okiro, a former Inspector-General of Police, noting that insecurity had dampened the economic livelihood of Nigeria in general and North-East in particular, also called upon the summit to look critically at the security challenges and suggest practical solutions.
Chairman of the Summit, Gen T.Y. Danjuma, represented by Maj-Gen Tanko Nuhu Abdullahi, urged the participants to tackle security and its facets such as education, food, health, technology and a solid industrial base.
The 2-day summit has in its attendance the governors of Bauchi, Borno and Gombe. The acting governor of Yobe State and the representative of the Adamawa State Governor, in addition to the Senate Leader Abdul Ningi, Senator Babayo Gamawa and some royal fathers are also in attendance.

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