Let me start from an article written by renowned journalist, Yakubu Mohammed, published in Daily Trust of Wednesday, April 24, 2019, with a caption “The Taiwan Formula, Today the North has become the epicenter of insecurity, social, political and ethnic upheaval.”
Truly, the situation in Northern Nigeria today is so pathetic that people from the region have to come together as a matter of urgency to take proactive measures against the vicious circles of illiteracy, hunger, unemployment, herders, farmers’ clashes, ethno-religious violence, kidnapping, etc.
The North has to come together, irrespective of religious, ethnic and political affiliations. To borrow from President Muhammadu Buhari,”We have no other country than Nigeria,” but in this case, we have no other place than Northern Nigeria and we must salvage it together.
Northern Nigeria which was well known right from pre-colonial era as peaceful region is not the same today; therefore we should not allow insecurity, almajiri menace, unemployment, illiteracy, drug addiction, kidnapping and other vices to consume us.
The situation is so worrying that silence presently is not golden’ and as such we must organise Northern investment and peace summit to come up with urgent and cogent ideals that will drastically reduce these vices.
It is imperative that the summit be organised within shortest possible time in Kaduna, the centre of Northern Nigeria, in order to come up with concrete, holistic, implementable and urgent solutions.
The summit should include security experts, academics, business moguls, journalists, civil societies (CSOs), religious bodies, traditional rulers, and government officials from the three tiers of government, namely, federal, state and local governments.
The North, as a matter of priority, must reduce unemployment in the region which is a looming national disaster that would explode at any given time which accounted for high rate of societal vices in the nation and the region in particular.
The summit if convened should focus more on tackling illiteracy, school dropout and creating employment. It also has to prioritise on creating investment opportunities in agro industries, information technology and creating small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The proposed peace and investment summit should also have what I call Northern economic implementation committee or working group. The main job and focus of the group is to work assiduously on the recommendations or the communiqué to be issued at the end of the summit.
It is also imperative to organise a similar summit at state and local governments’ level and their recommendation channeled to the main committee for advice and implementation.
There should also be a synergy between committees at the state and local government level, synergy between Northern economic and peace summit and Kaduna investment group, the South-south and South-east economic summit groups for cross fertilisation of ideas on how to move the region forward.
Going forward, the summit has to be an annual event in order to access the success or otherwise of the recommendations, in order to create new ideas on how to move the region forward. Participation of the summit should be voluntary and also volunteers should constitute to the successful hosting of the event.
On the issue of those who would drive the process, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Arewa Women and youth organisations, business organisations, etc, can come together and organise the summit.
Finally, the Kaduna state government can be on the driver’s seat under the umbrella of Kaduna state Economic and Investment Summit and for Kaduna being the capital of the Northern Region.
Haruna Ibrahim Adaha; 0802356623; [email protected]