Yakasai frowns at Northern Governors’ decisions as “not collective resolves;” Middle-Belt Forum, others not represented

The chairman Northern Elders Council, NEC, Elder Tanko Yakasai, has faulted the decisions of Northern States Governors’ Forum, NSGF, contained in the communiqué issued at the end of the two meetings of the Forum in Kaduna.

Yakasai, who made the remark in an interview with our correspondent, said that the Middle-Belt Forum, MBF, and other northern organisations were not invited to the meeting.

“To the best of my knowledge, NEC was not invited; neither the MBF forum was invited to the meeting.

“I also read the communiqué and I thought I will see Middle-Belt Forum, but they were not represented, either – which means there are people, who are yet to realise the fact that the totality of the northern people: Hausa-Fulani and non-Hausa Fulanis, Christians and Muslims come together to make up the people of Northern Nigerian.

“If any structure is not part of any process or decision, then, that decision cannot be the collective resolve of the entire northerners.  One portion cannot make the entire people of Northern Nigeria. The totality of the people must come together to make up the totality of northerners in Nigeria,” he queried.

Elder Yakasai further stressed that, “It’s the different group of people – religious, ethics, tribal groups, among others, that constitute about 65% of Nigerian population from Northern Nigeria,” he maintained.

The Elder, who also denied any knowledge of invitation for his forum through him or secretary “who is well on ground in plateau state,” does not blame them.

He said it was clear that Northern Elders Forum and Arewa Consultative Forum were conspicuously represented, “but did you see MBF; will you believe that every other organisation was invited?”

He advised that as a northerner, and over 70, he was born and brought up in Kano in the Northern Nigeria, with over 70 children and ground children, and whose great ground parents were born in the North of Nigeria, adding that anything that happens in the North or affect North affects him. He however, noted that “They invited those, who they want to invite; I cannot fault them.”

The communiqué of the Governors’ meeting:

THE MEETING OF NORTHERN STATES GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON TUESDAY, 24TH JANUARY, 2017, AT THE COUNCIL CHAMBER of SIR KASHIM IBRAHIM HOUSE, KADUNA, READS AS FOLLOWS:

The Northern Governors in pursuance of the primary objective of securing lives and properties of citizens in their respective States as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended, found it expedient to convene a Joint Extra-Ordinary Meeting with Chairmen of the Council of Emirs/Chiefs of the respective Northern States. The meeting, which was held on Monday, 23rd January, 2017, was overwhelmingly attended by all stakeholders, including the leadership of Northern Elders Forum and Arewa Consultative Forum. On behalf of the Forum, therefore, I wish to highlight some of the outcomes of our meeting held today, Tuesday, 24th January, 2017.

(a) The meeting resolved to accept the recommendations of the Body of the Attorneys-General of the 19 Northern States to domesticate the model penal code, the model Fiscal Responsibility Law and the model Administration of Criminal Justice Law through the necessary legislative actions, and subject to the individual peculiarities of the State, in order to ensure transparency, prudent management of public funds as well as smooth dispensation of criminal justice in the region.

(b) The management of NNDC presented the progress report of its activities with a detailed report on the 5-year Development Plan, which seeks to transform the Company’s fortunes. The Forum considered the progress report presented by the management of NNDC, noted the company’s achievements in the Oil and Gas Sectors, its partnership with Savannah Petroleum in the exploration of Oil at the Chad Basin, the effort of the company towards resuscitation of Kaduna Textiles Limited, establishment of a financial institution, exploration of solar power as an alternative source of energy, as well as solid minerals.

The Forum resolved that: –

(i) The management of NNDC should evolve a comprehensive Business Plan and present to the Forum at the April, 2017 meeting;

(ii) The Governors of Kaduna and Sokoto States should lead in the discussion on power and financial institution, respectively, and report progress at the next meeting;

(c) The Committee that undertook the Study of New Nigeria Newspapers Company Limited (NNNC) made their submission and the Forum resolved. It further resolved to restructure the company to a modern media outfit.

(d) The Forum was briefed on the achievements of the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, which includes, Free Medical and Scholarship Programmes, Vocational Training of about 2,700 youths in the North. The meeting expressed appreciation to the Foundation and noted the need to synergize the activities on similar organizations of Northern origin like Arewa Consultative Forum/Northern Elders Forum with the Foundation, in order to achieve a common purpose.

(e) The meeting also accepted the far-reaching recommendations of the Chairmen, Northern States Council of Emirs/Chiefs on the current security challenges and the socio-economic problems bedeviling the region. It expressed its appreciation to the Council to their support, insight and bringing to bear their vast experience on the issue of security and social well-being of the people.

Therefore, the Forum resolved to collectively tackle the issue of insecurity as one entity.

Gentlemen of the Press, although these are pockets of challenges in some parts of Northern Nigeria, the Forum wishes to put on record the efforts made by the Federal Government in curbing criminality in the polity. Indeed, the greatest of our appreciation goes to Mr. President, Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, for providing the necessary leadership to the Country to subdue Boko Haram insurgency and the drive to rid the Country of all forms of vices that bedevil our society.

The Forum also wish to extend its condolences to the Government and People of Borno State over the accidental bombing at Rann of Kala-Balge Local Government whereby several IDPs lost their lives, and thanks all those, who have commiserated with the families of the victims. Similarly, the Forum sympathizes with the families of victims in Southern Kaduna, who lost their lives during the unfortunate incident and assured all and sundry that the crises will soon be a thing of the past, as Kaduna State Government is on top of the situation. The Forum noted that the crisis is being aggravated by the activities of some mischievous elements within the State and outside the region.

We wish to commend the efforts of Kaduna State Government for the prompt actions taken so for in arresting the situation.

The Forum is also grateful to His Eminence, the Sultan of Sokoto, and all the other Chairmen, Northern States Traditional Council of Emirs/Chiefs and other stakeholders, who have made the meeting a successful and fruitful one.

On this note, I thank you all, Gentlemen of the Press; and be assured that you will see more of our appearances for the Forum meeting more frequently, to lift the North to greater heights.”

Thank you, and God bless you all.

Hon. Kashim Shettima,

Chairman, Northern States Governors’ Forum, 24th January, 2017

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