Restructuring: Northern youths spit fire
Communique of the All Northern Groups Summit, Powered by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), Monday, 21st May, 2018
A two-day Summit of leaders of all leading northern youth groups, civil society organizations, students bodies, professional societies, trade and women associations was convened by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) at Arewa House, Kaduna.
At the conclusion of the event following exhaustive deliberations on key issues, the following resolutions were put in a communique on Monday 21st May, 2018.
The Summit was held to reassess the calls for the restructuring of the country as they affect the Northern region and its people in particular, as well as the overall unity of Nigeria.
Specifically, the Summit reviewed the distractions facing the North in the form of multiple and varied threats and the options that are available to the region as it prepares to engage other sections of the country in the restructuring debate.
The Summit paricularly noted that in spite of the intensity of the clamour for restructuring from other parts of the country, the North appears not yet able to approach the issue with the required determination and to properly take a collective and definite stand.
It also critically examined the various attempts been made by external forces at totally undermining the economic and social fabrics of the North by encouraging rampant poverty, pervasive corruption and social problems like armed robbery, kidnapping, prostitution, drug and substance abuse.
Resulting from this is an instigated mutual distrust that is giving rise to widespread security challeges that are yet to be holistically addressed.
The Summit as well recognized that without proper preparation, the North stands the risk of continuing to bear the brunt from the fallout of renewed agitations for secession and the recent clamours for restructuring.
Consequently, the Summit agreed that the discordant tunes coming out of the North suggest that it is too overwhelmed to even comprehend the true import of the brand of restructuring being called for, and its likely implication on the nation at large, to northerners in particular, and to the younger generation most especially.
Having undertaken a thorough analysis of the position of the North and the dangers of hoodwinking its communities unto a flight without actually knowing the destination, the Summit hereby:
1. FROWNS at the mistake about to be committed by the present crop of northern political leaders in accepting a proposal that could mortgage the region’s coIlective interest and its future.
2. STATES THAT:
a. The seeming endorsement by some northern leaders of a brand of restructuring that clearly places the region at a disadvantage is unacceptable and must be discountenanced.
b. For the avoidance of doubt, the North fully supports the restructuring of the country and shall be prepared to represent itself in any debate on the issue.
3. WARNS THAT:
a. The North shall not settle for any restructuring plan that falls short of a total, comprehensive and holistic reordering that should first and foremost include the peaceful, democratic and civil determination of the people, or groups of people, that truly and sincerely wish to remain part of the Nigerian federation.
b. Any reorganization process that fails to involve the discussion of the limits and extents of all the federating components with regards to available space and resources shall not be acceptable to the North.
4. INSISTS that the recommendations by both the committees set up by the northern state governors and the All Progressives Congress be discredited and abandoned.
In their place, a new, all-encompasing process that will ensure the accurate representation of all interests should be constituted.
And that older generation Nigerians above age 70 must not take up more than 15 percent of the delegate composition to the proposed national dialogue on restructuring.
It is important to note here, that those who fall within the above definition of old generation Nigerians, have in the past participated in debates that gave birth to the current national arrangement that is largely acknowledged as having failed our national aspirations.
Nigerians of between the ages of 18 to 60 should therefore competently compose 85 percent of the delegation to the new debate process for the reorganization of the country.
This is in recognition of the reality that
Nigerians within this age bracket are growing worried that the nation has not fared well by being on the same political and economic lanes for 58 years (1960-date), resulting in no meaningful developmental impact.
The national dialogue on restructuring shall therefore eventually form the cornerstone for a platform for Nigeria to deliberate, decide, design, and develop a roadmap for an ultimate generational power transition.
Frustrated young Nigerians, having paid their dues in the national development effort, have manifestly been left to suffer from the suffocating consequences of the prevailing exclusive and defeatist leadership selection process being imposed on the country over the years, by succeeding ruling elites.
It is time for the formation of a rallying point from which younger Nigerians can make a strong demand for a new political order, to usher in a generational power shift, as reparation for past marginalisation in the nation’s political leadership.
5. RECOMMENDS the immediate setting up of a multi-purpose committee in the North with the mandate to embark on massive campaign for the enlightenment and sensitization of all northerners in preparation for the national debate on restructuring.
A second committee should liaise with other critical stakeholders in other regions with a view to articulating common grounds for the restructuring of the country.
6. RESOLVES to set up the following committees to provide the framework to guide the north and its people in coming up with an articulate common position on the issue of restructuring and to position the north properly in a restructured Nigeria:
1. Economic Development and Social Investment.
2. Industrialization, Trade, and Commerce Limitations and Potentialities.
3. Regional Interrelations and Foreign Policy.
4. Federal Assets and Liability Sharing
5. Northern Civil Service Reform
These committees shall take off with immediate effect in order for the north to be fully prepared with a working document that will help it participate comfortably in the coming challenges.
Monday, 21st May, 2018.