Some northern groups and associations rose from a meeting on Sunday in Kaduna and declared that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan has failed to protect the people of the region and other Nigerians.
The groups said the north would not accept the “status of a defeated region” just as they vowed to resist tenure extension under the cover of security.
They also rejected the recent allocation of additional polling units by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which it said deliberately conferred undeserved advantages on states in the south. It, therefore, demanded that the exercise should be revisited using standard criteria.
The groups that attended the meeting are Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Code Group, Northern Re-awakening Forum, Arewa Research and Development Project, Northern Union and Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation.
Others are the Arewa Media Forum, North East Unity and Development Forum, Northern Youth Coalition and Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria. In a communiqué jointly signed by the Secretary General of the ACF, John Ubah, and that of the Code Group, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, and released on Monday, the groups said they would not accept the status of a defeated region.
The groups stated that the parley was the result of efforts by Northern associations genuinely committed to the interests of the region and the survival of Nigeria as a united indivisible, peaceful and prosperous nation.
They also said “the disastrous collapse of security around the population of the North East in particular and the inability of the nation’s armed forces to contain the spread of the insurgency represents a failure of President Goodluck Jonathan to protect Northerners and other Nigerians.”
The groups said they will establish joint committees on strategy and coordination, political matters and security, and support active mobilization of the population in support of all activities aimed at resisting the alarming levels of insecurity in the North, and also improve awareness of the people of the North over attempts to undermine the region and deprive its people of all faith and ethnicity of their rights to live in peace.
While noting the “failure of the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to provide the necessary leadership and commitment in protecting people of the North, particularly those in the North East,” the groups resolved to invite former presidents and heads of state from the region “to recognize that they are severely under-utilised assets, and Northerners expect them to improve their inputs into influencing events around their security and economic well-being.”
They listed the former leaders as Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar.
The groups also requested the President of the Senate, David Mark and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, both of who are from the North and all the legislators from the region “to note that northerners expect them to exercise greater commitment towards ensuring that President Goodluck Jonathan’s government is made more accountable to Northerners and the citizens of Nigeria in the manner it handles national security and the management of resources of the nation.”
They also reminded the northern governors that “citizens are disappointed over their seeming neglect of the security and welfare of the people of the North.
In the next few weeks, activities of joint committees will approach governors and involve them in mobilizing citizens towards supporting all measures to improve security in the North, and will inform Northerners of responses of all our elected leaders.”
On politics and security, the meeting noted the need for improved unity in the North to mitigate the potential damage of partisan politics and attempts to use religion and ethnicity to weaken the region. According to the groups, the North has a majority in population, and should use this advantage to negotiate and support candidates and programmes that would address the current challenges of the region and its need for massive rehabilitation and economic reconstruction in the future.
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