By Tom Garba
Despite its abundant human and natural resources, ranking as the sixth oil-producing country in the world, Nigeria’s population is living below standard with the northern region having a high level of poverty rate.
The current economic downturns and crisis inflicting pains and brunts of poverty scourging the nineteen northern states, some elites from the region last weekend united during a dialogue session in Abuja and decided to face the challenge headlong.
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mallam Mahmud Yayale Ahmed (Ajiyan Katagun), former Governor of Bauchi State, Isa Yugudu, former Governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Rufai Sani Yerima (Yeriman Bukura), former Senator Jonathan Zwingina, Methodist Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Rt Dr Ishaya Kunama were united under the umbrella of Arewa New Agenda (ANA) and vowed to fight poverty, what they described as the region’s common enemy.
Others at the meeting held in Abuja Saturday are the convener of the event, Senator Ahmad Abubakar Moallayidi, Dr Shuaibu Shehu Aliyu, Director Arewa House Kaduna, Professor Danfulani Ahmed, Professor Adamu Kyuka Usman, Dr Salihu Mohammed Lawal, Ambassadors Hassan Jika Ardo, Archbishop Jonathan Maji Jo, Sheikh Khalid Nurudeen (Digital Imam) and hosts of so many people and dialogued in the interest of the Northern region.
Yayale who was the distinguished Chairman of the occasion in his opening and welcome remarks said they are a group of realists in Nigeria gathered to face the nation’s reality as they submit to the leadership of the country.
He said the poverty index in the North is at an alarming stage, which is culminating in illiteracy, ill Health, and a lack of understanding between key leaders and religious leaders.
“We are moving forward to tackle poverty in Northern Nigeria headlong and our dear nation as a whole. This is the mandate for ANA with the common vision of one Arewa, one voice, and one Agenda of saving our people from abject poverty.” Yayale said.
He called on all attendees of the event to unite in addressing households as the key issue as according to him as long as they fail in the area of raising good households, the Northern society will be worst.
From whatever part of the divides you belong to we learn lessons from all religions that virtues and morals are key issues of raising a better society.
He worried that the region, and the entire country at large have virtually abundant the basic issues which We were thought dignity of labor, hardworking and farming to earn a living.
The Northern Elder statesman further lamented that the present society thrives on lies and calls on the government to be committed as everyone is putting up his or her commitment to making sure the government is committed to working for Nigeria.
On his part, the Methodist Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Rt Dr Ishaya Kunama challenged the Northern elites to stop being sycophants and face the true reality that prayers are no longer tenable in the current reality of Nigeria’s level of corruption, insecurity nepotism, and unemployment.
He called on them to be proactive and adopt the practicable approach in bringing all that is feasible as the only way the region will grow above the poverty level.
“I no longer pray to God for Nigeria to be corrupt-free. I always ask God to give me the idea to contribute my quarter as a solution to our problems. We have prayed enough day in and day out. All we need to do now is to change the approach pattern by being more practical in the approach of the nation’s problems than being prayer warriors still expecting answers.” Kunama said
Experts presented papers that centered on tackling poverty in Northern Nigeria were Professor Ossuji Medaner, Mr John Y. P. Pakka, Engr Bukar Abdullahi and Imam Bello Ibrahim.