From NOAH EBIJE and ABDULGAFAR ALABELEWE, Kaduna
Northern political leaders and traditional rulers have resolved to work tirelessly to bring the deadly activities of the Islamist sect, Boko Haram to an end in the North before the dawn of 2015 presidential elections in order for a northern candidate to have a smooth ride to the presidency.
This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of a two-day conference on the North and strategies for sustainable development held at Arewa House, Kaduna on Thursday which was read by Dr. Usman Bugaje, the convener of the conference, who was Katsina State governorship candidate on the platform of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the 2011 general elections.
The conference drew participants from concerned northerners, comprising former Heads of State, vice president, governors, one time Chief Justice of the Federation, Speaker, House of Representatives, academics in their respective fields, erstwhile ministers, federal and state permanent secretaries, retired generals and police chiefs, serving heads of federal and state agencies, businessmen, women and youth groups. The communiqué read in part: “That the Northern region will create a strong and united platform to address the current security situation and the politics of the North with particular reference to 2015 elections.
“The effect of the current insurgency of Ahlas Sunna li dawa’ati wal Jihad and other forms of insecurity have impacted negatively on the socio-economic, political and the religious life of the people. Economic growth and development, commerce and trade in both formal and informal sectors of the northern states are being stifled with multiplier on the larger national and African sub-regional economies. “That the Federal Government in liaison with state governors, the affected communities, religious leaders should get together to genuinely dialogue with the insurgents with a view to ending the insecurity in the North.
“That with over 72 per cent of the national landmass and favourable climatic condition for both rain-fed and irrigation farming, millions of livestock and other sundry agricultural endowments, the North has to modernize its agriculture with all the priority attention required to return the region to its erstwhile leading position as the food basket of the nation.