The Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai has said northerners should be proud of their culture, tradition, and unity, adding that no one from the north has been convicted of 419 or being a Yahoo boy.
El-rufai made this known at Northern Youth Summit in Kaduna, which was organised by Northern Hibiscus, an NGO.
The outspoken governor further described Nigeria as a nation with two countries in one: a developing South and a backward, less educated and unhealthy north, with the highest number of poor people in the world.
El-rufai used war-torn Afghanistan to depict the condition of the North.
“Looking at the statistics, Nigeria appears to be a middle-income country. But, if we segregate those statistics across states and zones, you will see that, in terms of human development indicators, Nigeria consists of two countries; there is a backward, less educated and unhealthy northern Nigeria, and a developing, largely educated and healthy southern Nigeria.
“We have to speak the truth to ourselves and ask why is it that northern Nigeria has development indicators similar to Afghanistan, a country still at war?
“We have the largest number of poor people in the world, most of them in northern Nigeria. Nigeria also has the largest number of out of school children, virtually all of them in Northern Nigeria.
“Northern Nigeria has become the centre of drug abuse, gender violence, banditry, kidnapping and terrorism.
We have also been associated with high divorce rate and breakdown of families. These are the challenges that confront us. This is the naked truth that we have to tell ourselves.
“We must, therefore, as leaders at all levels have a conversation about the way forward for our part of the country. Because increasingly, as many of you must have seen on social media, we are being considered as the parasite of the federal economy, even though, that is not entirely true. Because northern Nigeria still feeds the nation. The richest businessman in Nigeria is still Aliko Dangote, not someone from Southern Nigeria, thank God for that.
“So, we still have a lot to be proud of. We should be proud of our culture and tradition, as well as unity. You hardly can find someone from northern Nigeria convicted of 419 or being a Yahoo boy. That is something we should be proud of.
“We are generally considered to be more honest and less corrupt than other Nigerians. That is something we should be proud of. In addition, our demographic superiority gives us a very powerful tool to negotiate in politics. And that is something we should be proud of and we should preserve. So, we have every reason to unite and not be divided.”