A GROUP of northern politicians, academics, professionals and businessmen met yesterday at Asokoro in Abuja to deliberate on the state of the nation where they resolved to support restructuring of the country.
Among those who attended the meeting, were the Governors of Niger and Jigawa states, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu and Alhaji Sule Lamido; the convener, Dr. Junaidu Muhammed, former Senate President, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu; and former Deputy Senate President, Dr. John Wash-Pam.
Others were former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed; former ministers, Dr. Shettima Mustapha; Alhaji Adamu Maina Waziri; and Malam Lawal Batagarawa; as well as a former Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council, Prof. Nur Alkali.
According to a statement issued after the meeting yesterday and signed by the convener, Muhammed, the forum deliberated on the deteriorating security situation in the Northern states, particularly the spread of attacks and impunity by the Boko Haram insurgents and other ethnic and religious militias in the North.
The meeting was also said to have dwelt on the threats posed by the resurgent activities of Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), other militant groups and the Movement for the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB).
The participants also deliberated on the calls for a Sovereign National Conference.
According to the statement, the meeting reflected on the elements that bond the Northerners and their cultures together, irrespective of ethnicity and religion and expressed sadness that the basis of unity of the region has of recent come under a serious assault.
The meeting noted the recent nationwide strike, in the course of which Nigerians manifested a refreshing desire to support and protect one another against any design to polarise the people.
The meeting resolved to support the calls for the restructuring of the Nigerian Federation in the hope that the perceived lopsidedness in the structure of the nation’s politics and economy will be addressed.
Those in attendance called on the Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF) to liaise with other Stakeholders in the North, such as the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Union (NU), Jama’atul Nasirl Islam (JNI), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as well as women, youth and student bodies to jointly tackle the identified threats to the region’s growth.
Others in attendance were a former Chairman of Langtang South Council of Plateau State, Mr. Solomon Dalung; former Presidential Legal Advisers, Ibrahim Ismail and Prof. Awwal Yadudu; as well as newspaper publishers, including Sam Nda-Isaiah and Mohammed Haruna.
The rest included University Vice Chancellors, Prof. Abubakar Rasheed; Prof. Risqua Arabu; Sokoto businessmen such as the Chairman of MainStreet Bank, Alhaji Falalu Bello; a former Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, Mr. Hamman Tukur; former Solicitor General of the Federation, Professor Ignatius Ayua; Prof. David Iyornem; and Alhaji Dahiru Mohammed Newspapers.
Others included the first female Editor of the New Nigeria, Mrs. Bilkisu Bintube; and another female Editor from Trust Newspapers, Mrs. Aisha Kabiru Yusuf; Dr. Bashir Kurfi of Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU, Zaria); and Timaus Mathias, veteran journalist.
Also present were Mr. David Garnva; former President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mallam Abba Gana; former Deputy Director of Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), Alhaji Shehu Kaikai, Sanusi Abubakar; Garba Shehu; Mr. Simon Gunkat; Mallam Adamu Yakubu; Zannah Mustapaha; Mallam Sambo Ingawa; Kalil Ghazali; Abubakar Michika; and Prof. Abubakar Mustapha.