2019:Northern elders set up new forum, c’ttees to address regional issues
Northern elders yesterday established a new standing regional forum known as the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) to address various issues challenging the region.
The new forum, which replaces the Northern Elders and Stakeholders Conversation, was part of the outcome of the leaders’ meeting yesterday in Abuja.
The leaders also formed five subcommittees to work with the forum, which has Dr Umar Ardo as Secretary and retired Commodore Isaac Mankilik as Deputy Secretary.
The committees are: Security SubCommittee, Political Sub-Committee, Northern Unity Sub-Committee, 2019 Election Sub-Committee, and Restructuring of Nigeria Sub-Committee.
In the communiqué signed by former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, the meeting also endorsed the holding of a Northern Political Submit on 15th March, 2018 to mark the 1959 attainment of selfgovernment of the Northern Region.
The reports of the committees will be delivered and deliberated at the said Northern political summit.
Earlier, elder statesman Tanko Yakassai and former Acting Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Bello Haliru Mohammed called for unity to address the leadership and security challenges facing the region.
In his opening remarks, Mohammed said for the north to attain the desired unity, deliberate measures should be taken towards forging a strong bond on solidarity among the political class.
He said it had become critical to establish a wide and enduring political network and channel of communication for consultations and dialogue among the apparatus and leadership of all the various northern political elite.
“This will reduce acrimony and conflict; and conversely create trust among the northern political elite and facilitate the attainment of the set goals-cultural and political unity of the north.
“It is our unity in the north that can facilitate and give legitimacy to our alliance with the south to provide the required leadership to move this country forward.
“From what is apparent in the political arena today, it is clear that the major political operators have agreed that in the forthcoming 2019 election, it is the turn of the north to produce the president.
“Therefore, there is a need to partner with brothers and sisters from other regions to ensure that, this time around, the leadership that shall emerge is one that can unite and develop our country with equity, justice and peace for all; this is the main objective of this meeting,’’ he said.
In his remark, elder statesman and Chairman of the meeting, Tanko Yakasai, said it had become urgent for elite of the north to stand up in unity and save Nigeria from instability.
He said that the conversation, though political, was non-partisan and not a prelude to the formation of a political party.
According to him, the conversation represents all shades of political opinions, ethnic and religious diversities of the north.
The meeting was attended by former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu; former speaker of House of Representatives, Ghali Umar N’Abba; Attahiru Bafarawa; former governor of Sokoto State; former governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada; former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Ango Abdullahi; Prof Auwal Yadudu; former minister, Mukhtar Shehu Shagari; former minister, Solomon Ewuga; and Zannan Mubi, Paul Wampama.
Others in attendance include: former FCT Minister, Jeremiah Useni; former governor of Adamawa, Boni Haruna; Senator Ibrahim Ida; former governorship candidate in Adamawa State, Umar Ardo, among others.