Youths under the aegis of Northern Youths Network (NYN) yesterday flayed the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) for whipping up religious and ethnic sentiments in their clamour for power to return to the North in 2015.
President of the association, Malam Alli Kano in a statement in Abuja said those purportedly speaking for the North concerning the 2015 presidency are doing so for personal gains.
Kano said: “As a budding organization, whose cardinal objective is to raise the level of consciousness of the average Northerner, in a bid to compel a paradigm shift in the socio-economic and political affairs of Northern Nigeria in particular and the nation in general.
“We wish to state very clearly that ethnicity, religion and all the other primordial sentiments which our elders have whipped up in the past to sway the choices of the people during election times must be hurriedly discarded as we prepare for the 2015 general elections, so that credible and competent leaders will rule the nation and advance our democracy.
“May we humbly ask which age group constitutes the virile population of Northern electorate? It is undoubtedly the youths! But have the elders considered it imperative to consult the youths with a view to harmonizing positions in this pointless crave to return power to the North in 2015? No!
“They just assume that as usual, they can set their selfish agenda and the youths, most of whom they have deliberately left impoverished, will fall in line automatically! But this time, they are in for a big surprise.
“Experience has shown us that politics is not really a game of sentiments, but of interest! Therefore any leader who is capable of protecting and advancing the interest of the North would enjoy the support of the Northern youths.”
He contended that in the 52 years of the nation’s Independence, power at the centre has resided in the North for much longer than it has been in the South.
“But what do we have to show for it in the North? He asked, adding “It is pervasive poverty, insecurity, hunger, disease, illiteracy and underdevelopment!
“The egocentric and recycled politicians of Northern Nigeria, who have over the years used poverty and illiteracy as instruments of oppression to subject the majority of their fellow Northerners to be at their beck and call and hence to do their dirty biddings, do not really wish well for their people.”
According to him, some leaders in the region have no genuine desire to develop the Northern region and its people.
He lamented that: “Today, the average Northern youth is being regarded as a terrorist, a sad situation which is far from the truth! This is because our elders have not shown any tangible commitment towards checkmating the Boko Haram upsurge and other hostilities in the North.
“Instead the Northern Elders prefer to leave the youths perpetually impoverished, so that they can hardly see beyond their noses! Our Northern leaders do not really believe in leadership succession, that is why they do not care to empower the youths.
“We are fully aware that some of the Northern elders are some of the richest persons in Nigeria. They hold a good number of the oil wells in the South-South region of the country.
“But what do they do with their stupendous wealth? They only entice the people with peanuts and alms, to keep them begging and looking up to them forever, while their own children are exposed to the highest standards of education abroad. That is really not fair.
“We recall that Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi was personally able to place several indigent students on scholarship! How many Northern elders can boast of similar feats?
“It is high time the youths opened their eyes to the antics of these disgruntled politicians.”