By Ibrahim Hassan
Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, yesterday berated recent expanded meeting of the Northern Governors’ Forum, NGF, claiming the meeting relegated more serious issues of security, youth restiveness, unemployment, poverty, dwindling fortunes of agriculture and general economic decline to focus on less important issues.
At a briefing yesterday in Kaduna, CNG claimed the agenda for the NGF meeting was grossly misplaced in the sense that it accorded more relevance to the #EndSARS and the social media failings which should by far not be the major focus of concern for the North at the moment.
CNG spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman said it acknowledged the meeting of the forum with traditional rulers, members of the National Assembly, the Inspector General of Police and Chief of Staff to the President in Kaduna, saying: “We particularly commend the dedicated efforts of the Forum’s Chairman, Governor Simon Lalong for convening a meeting of such magnitude with the resolve of making it regular.”
While CNG said it had no quarrel with NGF’s observation on the need for stated roles for traditional rulers, quick resolution of the overdrawn ASUU misunderstanding with the Federal Government, to a large extent that social media platforms have been turned into avenues for dissemination of fake and dangerous information, among others, it contended that “essentially, the agenda for the NGF meeting was grossly misplaced in the sense that it accorded more relevance to the #EndSARS and the social media failings which should by far not be the major focus of concern for the North at the moment.”
According to Suleiman “The CNG and indeed the vast majority of the cultured northerners are disappointed that such a meeting of northern governors and traditional leaders, elected representatives and top federal government officials from the North should find it more important to dwell on #EndSARS and social media and neglecting the more serious issues of security, youth restiveness, unemployment, poverty, dwindling fortunes of agriculture and general economic decline.
“We are disappointed that such a meeting should lack the courage to make clear pronouncements on the unprovoked attacks on northerners and their properties at a time when their southern counterparts are proposing claims of trillions of Naira in compensation for their people. We are disappointed that the meeting lacked the requisite statesmanship to define the northern position with regard to the falsified reports around the fictitious attacks on Lekki protesters that is causing the nation international worries.
“It is disappointing that the meeting failed to see as priority the need to send a delegation to ascertain the extent of damage and to console the affected northerners in the southern states.”
“We are disappointed that the meeting did not have the presence of mind to discuss the necessity of compensating the innocent northerners who were unnecessarily attacked, assaulted, killed, displaced and deprived.”
While hoping the northern governors and other leaders would rethink the apparent weak position adopted at the meeting and redeem their failure to articulate a more favourable northern position, the CNG expressed reservations regarding the two committees set up, their stated functions and the all important issue of implications.
They said in the past, several committees have been variously charged with tasks of recommending the way forward for the region.
“But regrettably, a lot of the recommendations, viable though they may be, have characteristically been consigned to the dust bin of history.
While hoping that it will be different, at least this time around, we also expect that genuinely patriotic and productive minds would be engaged for meaningful input particularly for the Youth and Civil Society Committee which is expected to engage the youths with a view to addressing their pressing demands to put to rest their agitations,” they said.