ADDRESS ON THE CURRENT STATE OF THE NATION AS THEY AFFECT THE NORTH.
The Coalition of Northern Groups had been deliberately silent while observing events in the last couple of weeks particularly those that have potentials to affect the survival fortunes of the North in the short and longer terms.
This silence aimed to justify CNG’s repeated position that every act of provocation against the North from other parts of the country is ignored by the respective federal authorities, northern political, cultural and religious leaders and the media.
It also aimed to justify our concern that the anger of authorities, the vocal section of the southern media and other state actors is only vented on northerners for daring to react to such provocations.
Having made these points, the CNG is obliged to react to the unfolding events that existentially threaten the integrity and general viability of the North.
This is necessary in order to checkmate the obsession of southern players that their versions of the future of the nation must be actualized.
The following chain of events therefore ought to serve as a sufficient wake up bell for the North to review its preferences and weigh its survival options with regards to unfolding eventualities:
1.The North today is systematically crippled by multiple security challenges that threaten its population and political unity, and inhibit its entire economic and social activities.
Recurring violence involving cattle theft, abductions for ransom, attacks on civilian targets and other forms of banditry all over the North poses serious threats to peace and security with the uncoordinated and inadequate responses by state and federal authorities deepening mistrust and perception of authorities’ bias.
2. In a brazen disregard for the secular setup of the country, Governor Nysom Wike openly declared Rivers a Christian state and went ahead to prove it by demolition a Mosque in breach of the guaranteed freedom of every Nigerian to practice their faith unimpeded by any legislation or obstacle imposed by a state or a community.
3. In another brutal encroachment to people’s freedom, the Lagos state government apprehended and humiliated dozens of northerners in the pursuit of lawful Okada businesses the way people from other parts carry out their respective trades of choice in all parts of the North.
1. We observe that northerners face all sorts of humiliation and rejection like the latest incident in Lagos, because they are forced to seek alternative opportunities by the following realities:
a. The bulk of opportunities meant for northerners in the North has been inadvertently taken up by people from the South.
b. While northerners are denied the opportunity of employment to even the most menial of jobs in the South, all vacant positions available in the North as guaranteed by the local content clause of the federal character provision have been surrendered to southerners.
c. Whereas the local content clause stipulates that all levels 01 to 06 positions in every private establishments must go to indigenes of the host communities, in the North the reverse is the case.
d. Thus almost every position in almost all the various banking and financial institutions, insurance houses, telecom agencies, educational institutions and other private concerns spread all over the North are taken over by southerners at the expense of indigenous communities.
e. Sadly, even vacancies in public institutions and all government agencies and parastatals including several state and local government establishments in the North are occupied mainly by people of other regions.
2. We observe that except for a few northern political leaders like Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, all federal and state authorities, the entire political, religious and cultural establishments in the North were silent on the Rivers and Lagos affairs.
3. We note that this renewed and sustained antagonism from the South is encouraged by the northern political leadership which is weakened and fragmented by opportunists chasing personal agenda for political ascendancy to the presidency. It is also one that feeds on the sad reality of the massive population being confused, suspicious and prone to manipulation by condescending politicians who have no concern for the North.
5. We also note that the failure of the authorities to act, coupled with the current levels of anger and hopelessness among the victim populations are alienating entire communities from the system.
6. We observe the shocking level of audacity with which bandits and other criminal elements attack, kidnap, kill, destroy towns and villages and commit unspeakable atrocities in the North that calls to question the existence of any political will to fight them, or the capacity to successfully defeat them.
7. We also regrettably observe that while Boko Haram no longer controls as much territory as it once did, it nevertheless maintains the ability to stage forces in many areas, launch attacks against civilian targets across the Northeast and carry out effective complex attacks on military positions.
1. CNG demands from the Federal Government proof of its capacity to protect citizens in Katsina, Kaduna and many parts of the North as minimum evidence that it is serious about its responsibilities.
2. We warn that failure to bring about an immediate end to the violence ravaging the North will confirm fears that the region has been abandoned by the authorities, in which event communities will be left with the only option of taking steps to protect themselves.
3. We demand that the federal government, northern governors and legislators take immediate steps to reassert the rights of every Nigerian to practice the religion of his choice anywhere, and to draw the attention of Governor Woke to the consequences of repudiating the nation’s secular arrangement.
4. We call on the federal and northern states governments to note our concerns for the personal liberty and safety of northerners pushed by circumstances to seek means of livelihood in other parts of the country.
5. Consequent upon these concerns, the CNG has resolved to adopt the following measures:
1. Ensure that all job opportunities in the North that have been unduly monopolized by southerners are reclaimed and restored appropriately by:
a. Unveiling a portal for the registration of all employable northern youths, their states of origin, educational qualifications and skills.
b. Obtaining comprehensive statistics of all existing private establishments in the North including insurance houses, banking and financial institutions, educational institutions, telecom agencies etc with a view to seeking the review of the regional composition of their staffing to ensure compliance with the local content provision.
c. Approaching all northern governors, federal and state legislators, local government councils and traditional institutions to ensure total compliance with the local content provision in every sector all over the North.
d. Taking steps to ensure that henceforth, indigenous contractors get preference in the award of all government contracts in all parts of the North.
c. Drawing the attention of state governments and local government councils in the North that it will no longer be tolerable to use resources meant for the North to empower other regions through the practice of engaging non-indigenous consultancy services.
e.Taking steps to ensure that henceforth, all such consulting needs by northern governments are awarded to professionals in our universities and other professional institutions as a means of empowerment and job creation for our youth.
6. The CNG calls on all categories of northerners to note and reject any offer by those political leaders whose personal political ambitions overshadow their patriotism to the region, including those who endorse the humiliation of northerners with their silence and choosing to please other regions at the expense of the North in the pretext of nationalism.