By AbdulRaheem Aodu, Kaduna–
Prominent northerners yesterday gathered at Arewa House, Kaduna expressing divided opinions over restructuring of Nigeria as the debate rages on.
Former House of Representatives Speaker and Governor of Sokoto state, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal said, North was not against restructuring, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar insisted on power devolution to states, while spokesman of Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi said Nigeria should go its separate ways.
However, apex religious bodies in the region, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) and Northern chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), as well as Jam’iyar Matan Arewa (Northern Women Assembly) said Nigeria is better together.
Addressing the opening ceremony of the event organised by Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP) with the theme, “The North and future of Nigerian federation” Atiku Abubakar who was represented by Dr.
Awwalu Anwar said, “my idea of restructuring is devolution of power to the states with the resources.
Federal Government should only be bothered about the economy while the states should be left to provide education, security and build roads.
“To me if the state is given the responsibility of providing security, state police will better secure their areas because they will be familiar with the nature and peculiarity of their security challenges.
In the whole of this the North has nothing to fear because we have the land, we have the population and we have the resources.
North has nothing to fear because oil will soon become history,” the Waziri Adamawa said.
Governor Tambuwal who chaired the occasion said, “the idea that the North is against restructuring because it benefi ts most from the current state of things is circumscribed and patently false.
The fact that some people continue to parrot such a lie only help to give credence to the fl awed argument.
“The North wants restructuring as much as anyone else.
However, as a people we do not easily jump unto the bandwagon because we are always there for the long haul.
We believe that any decision we take must be inclusive, and respect procedures and processes so that the outcome is sustainable.
I think we should fi rst, as a country, agree on a mutual defi nition of the term restructuring.
” Spokesman of Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Professor Ango Abdullahi insisted that the North was not afraid to go its separate way if the entire country insists on restructuring.
“The North has always sacrifi ced for the unity of Nigeria.
I was a student when we got independence and we saw that each time there was need to unite Nigeria, the North made the largest sacrifice.
” “The Governor of Sokoto state who is the chairman of the Northern Governors restructuring committee, and chairman of this conference, we do not want you to rush into committing us, but views of North should be collected, nobody should stampede us,” he noted.
For Northern chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) as well as Jama’atul Nasir Islam (JNI), the country is better together than to restructure it.