The Northern People’s Summit convened by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has resolved that restructuring is a “vital necessity” for the survival of the nation as one united entity.
But it said the north would be “stampeded or blackmailed” into taking a “major decision” on rotating the presidency.
The two-day summit discussed security, restructuring, economics, political and survival of the Nigerian state as they affect the north of the country.
“North will be stronger if it addresses its internal weaknesses, particularly around ethno-religious matters as it relates to its challenges with the rest of Nigeria,” the summit agreed in a communique it presented.
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The communique signed by the Chairman Communique Drafting Committee, Professor Doknan Sheni, called on northern elites and political leaders to improve their levels of sensitivity to inclusiveness and management of the North’s pluralism.
“Perception and practice of creating minorities and majorities among Northerners should have no place in the North, nor is discrimination on basis of place, faith or ethnic group of any Northerner.”
“The North draws attention of the country to the inherent fragility of Nigerian State. For Nigeria to survive, all parts of the country must equally commit to supporting its continuation as one entity, without equivocation or subterfuge. The North extends an invitation to groups that are genuinely interested in discussing the future of the country.
“The North believes that every interest can be accommodated in one united, just and equitable nation, but the North cannot be the sole custodian of this endeavour. The North warns against the continuation of demonization, attacks and killings of Northerners in the Southern parts of the country.
“It demands that federal and state governments must take firmer steps to protect members of Northern communities who live in the South.
“This includes the arrest and prosecution of persons who are involved in these dangerous activities. The North urges Northern communities to continue to exercise restraint and be good hosts.
“The North invites the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari, Northern Governors and legislators to the fact that under their watch the North has sunk lower in all indices of human existence.
“Delegates at the Summit commit to continuously engage in searching for solutions, as well as raising their voices against poor governance, corruption and absence of commitment to deal with insecurity, poverty and hopelessness among Northerners.”
While asking the government to show effective presence in all ungoverned spaces in the North, he added, “The North resolves that there should be government-backed negotiations and dialogue with the bandits, Boko Haram and affected communities for effective peace in the North.
“The North appreciates the response of H.E. Governor of Plateau State and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum (NGF) Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong, to its invitation to attend the Summit, and be a resource person who enriched our discussions. The Northern Peoples Summit will reconvene in the near future.”