Northern Senators’ Forum wednesday concluded its two-day retreat but could not reach a consensus on the clamour for restructuring.
A communiqué by the chairman of the forum, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, which was released to journalists by Senator Sabi Abdullahi from Niger State at the end of the retreat held in Katsina, said the North would take a well articulated, firm and common position on the issue.
Abdullahi blamed the political elite from other regions of the country for intimidating the North with the term “restructuring,” adding that they had projected the region as the weakest link, parasitic and unproductive region that brings nothing to the table.
He said the North was not afraid of restructuring provided it guarantees justice, equity, fairness and the unity of all Nigerians.
According to him, “The North as a region is not afraid of any sensible and meaningful arrangement provided it guarantees justice, equity, fairness and the unity of all Nigerians irrespective of religion, region, age and sex as enshrined in the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
“That the North shall take a well articulated, firm and common position on the issue of restructuring. Northern members of the National Assembly should be an integral part of achieving that common platform that should also include devolution of power to states and local government.
“That there is the need for the North to stand united irrespective of political, ethnic or religious differences.”
The senators resolved that the northern leadership should demonstrate the political will to serve as growth drivers by strengthening governance and formulating plans that can develop the critical value chain of the activities of the region in which it has comparative and competitive advantages.
In the area of agriculture, the senators resolved that “the agricultural industrial and manufacturing sectors should be revived and transformed so that the teaming youths from the region could be actively engaged and empowered in order to keep them away from crimes.”
On education, they resolved to amend Section 4 of the 1999 Constitution to ensure primary education is compulsory while also noting that efforts will be made to establish, staff and equip more learning institutions and promote education for the girl-child.
“The infrastructure gap in the region shall be bridged through interstate partnership with active private sector participation. That states from the region shall as a matter of urgency start planning for post-oil era by improving their internally generated revenue and revamp the comatose industries in the region so as to provide employment opportunities to their people.
“There is urgent need to design and all embarking marshal plan for the development of the region.
“The Northern Senators’ Forum has resolved to partner their counterparts in the House of Representative, the Northern Governors’ Forum and other critical stakeholders in the North to design a marshal plan for northern region’s development.
“That National Assembly members shall take their oversight functions seriously to ensure meaningful implementation of all federal budget provisions as it affects the three zones from the region,” the northern senators said.
They also resolved to amend the constitution to accommodate traditional institutions by providing them with specific roles and responsibilities.