The Protem Chairman of the newly formed North Central People’s Forum, Chief Gabriel Yakubu Aduku says despite its enormous solid, liquid mineral and natural endowment, commercial fishing farming and agro-allied activities as well as massive intellectual human resources, the zone has become a sleeping giant.
Chief Aduku made the remark on Wednesday in Abuja at the launch of the Forum which was attended by notable elder statesmen and elite from the zone comprising, Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau States.
“The socio-cultural, po-litical and economic diversities of the zone simulate it as macro-cosm known as Nigeria. It’s extre- mely rich human and mineral re-sources make this zone a unique divine arrangement for immense prosperity, development and lea- dership within the Nigeria Federation.”Its immense human resource capital has undoubtedly an-nounced the citizens of the zone for excellence and impact.
“Sadly, however, inspite of its enormous solid, liquid minerals and natural endowments, commercial fishing, farming and agro-allied activities, as well as the massive intellectu-al human resources, the zone has become a sleeping giant, good enough only for political exploi- tation and exploration by its “pa-trons” and vote seekers
“Within this giant, painfully lie its great potentials, including se-veral dormant projects, factories, industries and untapped natural and human resources; within this, also lie sleeping great voices and docile interests and aspirations. This irony of the absurd should not be allowed to thrive any lon-ger.
” The North Central Peoples’ Fo-rum has chosen to rise to the occa-sion and the challenges.“It has come to ensure the effecti- ve aggregation, promotion and ac- tualization of dormant and latent interests and potentials of the zone. It has come to give momentum and expression to voices of giants of the zone that have become silent, weak and inaudible.
“The zone hosts strategic indu-stries, such as the Ajaokuta steel plant, the Iron Ore Processing Plant at Itakpe, the Obajana and Benue Cement facilities, the Bacita Sugar Processing Plant and Jebba Paper Mill and several others, all of which have become challenged.“Apart from being a solid mineralbelt, with a network or inland ports at Baro, Lokoja, Ajaokuta and Idah, the Rivers Niger and Benue have also put the Zone at a strategic position.
“These rivers have been neglected, abused, ignored and serving independent Nigeria as it did for the Royal Niger Company (RNC) of Pre-independent Nigeria. Unfortunately and painfully, bud-getary arrangements for dredging these rivers in order to make them fulfill their expected, commercial and developmental strategic roles have met frustrations and failures.
“In the face of all the above great endowments and potenti-als, which should have made the zone both political, economic and socio-cultural hub of Nigeria, it is unfortunately bedeviled by security and developmental challenges of unprecedented dimensions. In terms of insecurity, it is an incon- trovertible fact that almost in all states of the zone are people being killed and kidnapped regularly. Lives within the zone have ceased to be scared.
“The leaders of the Forum are no longer interested in the unending theories about the killings, but that they must stop. These have thus made our dear giant an en- dangered species amongst the co-mity of the six geopolitical zones of the federation”.
The forum at the launch obser-ved one- minute silence for some of its fallen heroes in the region in-cluding the late Sunday Awoniyi, Olusola Saraki, Solomon Lar and Joseph Waku.They also paid glowing tributes to Lt. General Inuwa Wushishi (rtd) who was Chief of Army Staff from October 1981 to Octo- ber 1983 in the Second Republic.
Arc Aduku who observed that the Forum was an “age-long dream” explained that the zone was made up of a population of over 25 million people, spread across 71 tribes, with numerous varied spoken languages.