From ABDULGAFAR ALABELEWE, Kaduna
As part of efforts to fight interests of the North ahead of the 2015 general elections and beyond, the region has come up with a platform called Joint Action Committee of Northern Group (JACONG).
Presenting the group through a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, its Publicity Secretary, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed said JACONG was a common platform for Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), the Code Group, Northern Re-awakening Forum and the Arewa Research and Development Project.
According to Baba-Ahmed, “this platform is actually a collaboration of these groups. It is precisely created to reduce the duplication of efforts and the waste in energy. The groups have decided to create a common platform through which we will also pursue the same objectives though the various groups will continue to exist.”
While noting that the North had over the years been divided along ethnic and religious lines, Baba-Ahmed, a former federal permanent secretary said: “Enough of divided North.”
He assured of JACONG’s resolve to address the differences of the people of the region with a view to forging a common front to purse its development.
“The collaboration is unique, our committee does not recognize core or subsidiary North; we recognize fundamental equality of northerners because the problem of the North affects the northerners equally. We see the same level of poverty, insecurity, we see the same concern and there is no difference.
“Those who use words like core northerners, I have no idea and we don’t want to operate within that mind set. All northerners are equal, they all have the same problems and we realize that we have been divided precisely for the kind of talk that some people say there is core North and non-core North.
“All northerners are northerners and we are united by our common heritage and history. We are the whole part of the North that is continuously retrogressing economically. We are continuously exposed to more and more insecurity, we are weakening by the day. And there is no northerner that will tell you he is better of than the other because of his tribe or religion. So, this divide and rule has not work for any single northerner.
“All the fight we fought, we fought ourselves to standstill and so no single northerner will tell you he has benefitted. What we are trying to do is to capitalize on this new resolve by all northerners, the groups, the young, the women and the professionals that it is time to begin to turn a new leave for the North. It can be done and must be done because a divided North is a liability to itself and Nigeria,” Baba-Ahmed said.