Leaders and elites representing all the six states of the North Central territori-al geopolitical zone, as well as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Wednesday met in Abuja to form a win. organisation, the North Central Peopleys’ Forum (NCPF).
The launch of the NCPF is part of efforts targeted at addressing the political challenges confronting the region. The LEADERSHIP Reports
The leaders who expressed deep concern about happenings in the country declared that the organiza-tion shall be a non-partisan and non-religious body whose primary objective is to promote peace and unity among its people, as well as security and politics that will cater to their enlightened self-interest.
The programme was well attended by leaders and politicians of various stripes and endorsed by governors of the North Central states, had former FCT minister, General Jerry Useni (rtd) as chairman, Board of Trustees; former minister of Health, Arc Gabriel Aduku, as protem chairman and Khaleel Bolaji as secretary-general .
Also present were former deputy Senate presi- dent, Ibrahim Mantu who made a passionate plea for unity; former minister of Sports, Sani Ndanusa; former deputy governor of Niger State, Ahmed Ibeto; former deputy go- vernor of Benue State, Stephen Lawani; former deputy governor of Kogi State, Philip Salawu; chairman of LEADERSHIP Group, Sam Nda-Isaiah, former deputy chief of staff to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prince Olusola Akomode, Bilikisu Oniyangi among several others.
Speaking at the official launch of the group, the forum’s BoT chairman, General Useni,expressed confidence that the forum will unite the peoples of Benue,Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau States as well as the FCT in its quest to ensure that peace and stability is established and sustained within the zone to enable the zone pursue rapid industrialisation across all its nooks and crannies as well as pursue policies and processes that would ensure that the massive solid minerals and agricultural resources are adequately harnessed.Useni said,
“The Forum is also aimed at ensuring cooperation and support the good policies and administration of the six governors of the zone irrespective of our po-litical, religious and ethnic differences; support and co-operate fully with the Federal Government for full and complete implementation of infrastructures, development projects situated in the zone and involvement of the people of the zone in the National affairs of the country and promote, defend and strengthen North Central unity and interest of its people in the context of one indi- visible Nigeria and to contribute in safeguarding her territorial integrity.
“Consequently, every zone now has a common socio-political platform where they meet to discuss their strength and weakness with a view to propounding and promoting progress and de- velopment of the zone. It is therefore in this context that the South-South People’s Assembly and the South-South Elder’s Forum were formed to champion the common cause of the South-South people and draw Federal Government attention to the perceived problems facing the people of their zone
.“It is in similar vein that the South-West Zone of Nigeria established the Afenifere Group, a Yoruba socio-political organization that is constantly being used to draw Federal Government attention to their common challenges.
The South-East people of Nigeria have the Ohaneze Indigbo as their own socio-political platform for mobilizing their people to actualize political and economic objectives that may attract positive development to their zone.“Recently, the people of North-East floated a body called the North East Elders’ Forum for the attainment of similar objectives who succeeded in getting the North-East Commission approved by the federal government.
It is in the light of the fore-going that it becomes imperative and pertinent for us as a zone to rise to the challenges and launch our own geo-political platform from where we can draw the attention of relevant authorities on the need to address various socio-economic, political and securities challenges ravaging our zone”.
The BoT chairman commended all the governors of the geopolitical zone for rising to their responsibili- ties in defending the people of their respective states against insurgency, kidnapping and other crimes in the zone, even as he pledged the forum’s support towards achieving the desirable peace in their various states.
He urged all parties to bury their individual, political, religious and ethnic differences and unite and cooperate with each other for the development and progress of the people in the zone.Useni continued:
“Those of you who are present here today should consider yourself as the voice and true representative of your people whom they have known to have at one time or the other represented them fully at various level. “Therefore, no sacrifice will be too much on our side to give the people of the zone the peace and development they desire from us as their leaders”
On his part, chairman of LEA-DERSHIP Group, Sam Nda-Isaiah, wondered why it took so long to form the forum, saying it was time the people of the North Cen-tral changed the narrative that the zone is a shopping ground for votes.The media chief said, “When you look at the current sharing formu-la, it is simple to see and there is no point to overlook.
The President is from North West, the vice presi-dent is from South West, the Se-nate president is from North East, the Speaker is from South West and the Secretary to the Govern-ment of the Federation is from North East. It is easy to see.
There is no single principal officer of the Nigerian State from the North Central. The South West has two. When someone from the North Central attempted to contest for the office of speaker, there was a gang up against him in favour of the South West even though they already have VP.
“We are not complaining but I think that it is about time we stopped being the region that people come to get their votes when it is time to elect leaders. The stakes are very high and we should all understand it. “We have to be more strategic; we have to be very serious and we should just win