Northern governors under the auspices of the Northern State Governors Forum said yesterday that they are working hard to restore and revive the legacies left behind by the late Premier of the north, Sir Ahmadu Bello as they pointed out disparity between the North and South.
Speaking on behalf of the Forum, during th 50th anniversary of the death of the premier, the Chairman of the forum and governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, said while the late Sardauna did very well for the north, it was the responsibility of present day leaders in the region to invest on the people.
He said the present day leaders of the north would build on the legacies the late Sardauna left behind and work on how to create jobs for the millions of people that are coming first in the North.
“Unemployment in the north is extremely high. Nigeria is a country of two nations, the South is much more stable and prosperous, the north on the other hand is in a poverty trap. In Nigeria, poverty wears a northern cap, if you are looking for a poor man, get somebody wearing a northern cap,” he said.
Shettima said that the governors would be holding discussions with the Islamic Developmental Bank to see how they can come in.
“Sardauna was a leader of his own generation and every generation come up with its own style of leader. Sardauna did remarkably well for the North and for the nation, our duty, especially for those of us in the North is in our interest to invest in the people.
“Nigeria’s population will double in the next 23 years. By 2020, Nigeria’s population will be around 210 million. By 2030, there will be about 270million Nigerians and by 2050, when old men like me might not be around, the population will be around 440million.
“By then, we will be the third most populous nation on earth and most importantly, 70% of the population will be living in Northern Nigeria. Deforestation, desertification, joblessness, hopelessness, illetracy, unemployment, low access to health facilities are all recepies for disaster.
“It is in our enlightened self interest as northern leaders to invest in the people, to invest in agriculture, to create jobs because, there is a direct correlation with endemic poverty and most of the crisis threatening the north,” he said.
He assured that the northern governors were working assiduously as a team to address the monumental challenges confronting the north.
Answering question on when north started to decline , he said, “I rather look forward than to be mourning about the past, the most important thing is how we can build on the legacies he has left behind and how to create jobs for the millions of people that are coming first in the North.
“The emergence of Yakubu Dogara as the Speaker, House of Representative and B.D Lawal as the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, had a tremendous influence on inter-communary relationship in northern Nigeria such that we are now more united than before.