banner ad

Governors, Elders Battle for the North-East

| October 21, 2012 More

The quest by elders in the North East to find a lasting solution to insecurity and other problems bedevilling the area has become challenging in recent times.

The elders are battling to restore the lost glory of the geo-political zone that is afflicted by high rate of unemployment, poverty, insecurity, economic and educational backwardness. One question the elders are asking is, where did the North-East go wrong and what is responsible for the deplorable state of affairs?

On 13, June 2012, a meeting of concerned leaders from the zone was convened in Bauchi to discuss the challenges facing the North-East. In that meeting, it was resolved that the forum should transform into a permanent body to promote unity and development of the sub-region, hence the forum banner was changed from the North-East Forum of Concerned Leaders to North-East for Unity and Development,(NEFUND).

It was also resolved during the meeting that there was a need to establish organs and committees to achieve the objectives of peace, unity and development in the zone. The organs of the forum include the committee of patrons, the board of trustees and the central working committee. The central working committee, which has representatives from the six states of the geo-political zone, met on several occasions and selected people who can champion the cause of the forum.

NEFUND was scheduled for inauguration penultimate Saturday in Bauchi. But the six governors of the North-East boycotted the event. The governors action has been rationalised by some political watchers. The political analysts alleged that the governors are unhappy with the North-East elders because the motive behind NEFUND is selfish and not in the interest of the North. They opined that the governors have realized that the insecurity problem is now targeted directly at the elders, hence the olders opted for a cover under the umbrella for the NEFUND where they will gain recognition and be heard by the Presidency.

A source in the Bauchi Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) alleged that the elders contributed to the state of affairs in the North. According to him, one of the elders, Mallam Adamu Ciroma, who served the country in diverse ministerial appointments, did nothing to develop the region while in power. “The elders have actually done nothing to contribute to the development of the North but were just concerned about themselves, forgetting that one day the problem that they failed to address will haunt them. Now they do not have anywhere to run to, so they have formed a forum which they intend to use to seek relevance,” the source said. “

The governors are actually right when they alleged that the elders meeting had a hidden agenda. The governors are alleging that the elders are not ready to salvage the situation in the North, but instead they are actually protecting themselves and promoting their own interest. “Some of the governors are nursing the ambition of coming back for second term in office, so they are ready to fight anybody or anything that will come between them and President Goodluck Jonathan, who is in the position to determine their fate. They have resolved to maintain a cordial relationship with the President and they see the elder’s forum as a threat to their ambition”.

During the inauguration of the NEFUND, the special guest of honour, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd), revealed why the six governors declined to attend the meeting. He said, “Three days ago, I was informed by one of the governors that all the six of them had resolved not to attend and mandated one of them to advise me not to attend because they believed there was a hidden agenda behind the meeting.

Although, I am in no position to pass judgment on the allegation made by the governors, they have succeeded in creating doubts in my mind with regards to the motive behind this meeting”. The general noted that security in the North-East was a major challenge and stressed that the meeting should be suspended pending when they are able to appeal to the governors to attend.

The governors found excuses for their absence, saying they had other engagements. Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State said he was busy holding meetings that lasted several hours at the Government House Maiduguri, focusing on the security and economic challenges of the state and strategies to address them. Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda, who spoke through his Chief Press Secretary, Ishola Adeyemi Micheal, said he was away to the United States of America and he sent his deputy to represent him at the meeting.

Yuguda said he needed to travel out of the state to meet with companies that will bring development to the state and that he was in support of the elders meeting. Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo said he did not attend the elders meeting because he had an important state function to attend. The Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Public Relations, Alhaji Mansur Lawal, said his principal had no ulterior motive staying away from the summit, rather he preferred to stay away at home and swear in the newly appointed caretaker committee chairmen of the local government councils. He said the governor was in support of the elders initiative and that he sent commissioners of three important ministries viz: agriculture, trade and investment and rural development, to represent him at the meeting.

Meanwhile, governors of Yobe, Taraba and Adamawa did not react to their absence at the meeting as several efforts to reach their spoke persons failed.

Category: Bauchi State News

Comments are closed.