Say North now laughing stock
Northern governors, yesterday, again owned up to failing to replicate and sustain the benchmark set by the pre and post independence leaders of the region.
Chairman of Northern Governors Forum, NSGF and Governor of Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, lamented the abysmal performance of present leaders of the region, noting in particular that his generation has done more harm to the region than could be imagined.
According to him, the North is virtually lacking in every segment, a situation that has made the region the least developed and subsequently the laughing stock of other regions, stressing that they have failed to sustain the benchmark handed over to them by their heroes and forefathers.
Governor Shettima disclosed this in his opening remarks during the maiden meeting since the 2015 general elections for 19 northern governors.
He enjoined all the governors to put on their thinking caps, roll up their sleeves and set to work.
The Governor, challenged them to come up with a comprehensive blueprint and an agenda for the speedy transformation of northern Nigeria from its current travails into a modern, well developed, prosperous, progressive and united region for the good of its people and the entire country.
“The first generation of northern leaders, May God Almighty bless them, bequeathed to us a polity, though vast in land mass and complex in its diversity, that showed enormous promise, and was indeed beginning to live to that promise. “A polity where the social mantra was unity in diversity, where justice, fairness and equity reigned, where exemplary peaceful coexistence was the order of the day.
“Not only did succeeding generations of leaders including, sadly, our own, fail to sustain the benchmark handed over by our heroes, they let things to progressively and rapidly deteriorate, in the process exhibiting base irresponsibility of the worst kind.
“Thus, from those dizzying heights of the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s when the North was the cynosure, if not the envy, of all eyes, we plunged to the nadir of the social ladder.
“Regrettably today, our region has become a thriving nest for war, terrorism, deep seated social divisions, senseless violence, mind-boggling intolerance, injustice, destitution, joblessness, and all manners of other social vices, the height of which is the madness called Boko Haram.
“Things have become so bad, so much so that we can say without fear of contradiction that in Nigeria today poverty glaringly wears a bold northern face.
“We have turned our region into a laughing stock, derided by friends and foes alike, and, not without justification, as having dragged the rest of the country down with us.
“No amount of lamentation will of course, solve our many problems. We need to act, and fast too. This generation of northern leaders, led by us the governors, have both a moral and constitutional responsibility as well as a historic opportunity to reverse the negative fortunes of our people.
“We must do everything in our power to restore and entrench the lofty values of unity, understanding, tolerance, mutual respect, empathy, justice and mutual coexistence in the minds of our people and region.
“We must firmly and decisively commit ourselves to fighting poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, terrorism and other forms violent crimes in the North.
“I dare say that there is no better time to do that than now, when a sequence of events over the last few months is showing that a silver lining is beginning to appear in the dark clouds that have hovered over the North for so long.”
Shettima promised to transform the forum from a mere talk show into an action oriented and agenda-setting platform in the interest of all the 19 northern states and by extension Nigeria as a whole.
“I promise as chairman of this important forum to do everything humanly possible to ensure unity and purposefulness in our ranks by running an open and democratic system and by carrying everybody along,” he assured.
Present at the maiden meeting included: Governors of Borno, Kashim Shettima; Aminu Tambuwal Waziri, Sokoto; Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano; Solomon Lalong, Plateau; Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai, Kaduna; Mohammed Abubakar, Bauchi; Abubakar Sani Bello, Niger; Hassan Dankwambo, Gombe; David Ortom, Benue; Darius Ishaku, Taraba; Tanko Al-Makura, Nasarawa while Governors of Adamawa, Kwara and Kogi States were absent, but sent representatives.
Say North now laughing stock