North West Pulling Nigeria Backwards - El-Rufai, Other Govs Stated - EazyFeeds

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Friday 7 April 2017

North West Pulling Nigeria Backwards - El-Rufai, Other Govs Stated

The Governors of three states in the North West geopolitical zone have asserted that the region is pulling Nigeria backwards.
They hinged their position on the arrays of socio-economic problems facing the region over the years – which its leaders have failed to address.
The governors are Malam Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna State), Alhaji Abdullahi Umar Ganduje (Kano State) and Abdulaziz Yari (Zam­fara State).

They spoke on Thursday at the Kaduna Economic Summit.
At a plenary session where dis­cussants focused on the topic: “The Integration of the North West Zone”, the governors noted that “the high rate of illiteracy, infant mortality, maternal mortality and morbidity, the army of Almajaris (which they put at over three mil­lion), among other social menac­es”, were some of the negative indi­ces that have made the North West a clog in the wheel of Nigeria’s de­velopment.
The lamentation of the gover­nors continues with the theme of poverty and backwardness of Northern Nigeria explored on Wednesday at the same summit by the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi ll.
Sanusi had observed that: “The North East and North West of Ni­geria are among the poorest parts of the world...”
Governor Ganduje lament­ed that his state alone is contend­ing with over three million Alma­jiris (street beggars), claiming that most of these beggars were from the neighbouring countries.
Governor El-Rufai warned that “unless we recognise that and come together, and address our common challenges, we will continue to pull Nigeria backward, in my opinion, and that is the last thing we want.
“And this is why, very early in the administration, we approached ARDP to help us put together a group of thinkers, experienced technocrats to think through these problems and help us map out an agenda because as Dr. Usman Buga­je pointed out, the North West has the largest density of water resourc­es in Nigeria, in fact, in the West Af­rican sub-region.
“So, by constructing small dams and focusing on agriculture, we will be able to feed, not only Nigeria, but most of the sub-region. Everyday, between 12 and 20 trucks come from Niger Republic to buy maize and soya beans in Kaduna State, for instance.
“Daura Market in Kano is the largest grains market in the West African sub-region, attracting trad­ers from four to five countries. So, we have an opportunity to build on the long gesture of the history of Kano as a commercial centre. Similarly, Sokoto Caliphate, as the centre of learning, has natural and artificial endowments to create a vi­able and sustainable economic area in the North West. And this is what we have been working on.”
“For us in Kaduna State, region­al integration is inevitable. The first challenge we faced that brought this topic to the table was the security challenge of cattle-rustling, kidnap­ping and rural banditry that afflict­ed many states in the North West, and we realised very early along with my colleagues that unless we came together, all seven states of the North West, and we even brought in Niger State, which is not in the North West, unless we collaborate, we will not be able to address these issues holistically because if we at­tack the bandits in one state, they will just cross over to another state,” El-Rufai said.
Apparently seeing the summit as an avenue to address their collective problems, Governor Ganduje, said:
“I thank the governor of Kadu­na state for creating this kind of en­vironment for us to come togeth­er, especially for us to discuss the economic integration of the North West zone.
“What we require now is the po­litical will to come together and be fully integrated – socio economic integration beyond paper integra­tion, integration that will bring de­velopment in terms of institutions and in terms of programmes that will improve the quality of lives of our people.
“And what are the social prob­lems that we are having? In Kano, we undertook a survey and we found out that we have more than three million Almajiris and the Al­majiri syndrome is one of the seri­ous problems that we have in the North West geopolitical zone.
“What we discovered from our survey is that many of these Al­majiriscome from Niger Republic, some from Chad, Northern Cam­eroon and some from other states of the North West.
“So, if we can come together and have a common synergy to intro­duce a common legislation, pre­venting the movement of school age children from one place to an­other, I think the states will find it very easy to address the problem of the Almajiri syndrome.”
On his part, Yari described the North West integration as an im­portant key toward solving their problems.
He said that all things being equal, they have advantage over other zones in the country “when it comes to agriculture,” stressing that “we have the land, we have the people and we are the most popu­lous zone, so we have to take advan­tage of that.”
“When you talk about educa­tion in the North, we are backward and we have comparative advan­tage from one state to the other. I have seen one index that shows that about 65 percent of our people are living in poverty.”
“As long as we fail to fix educa­tion, getting those children out of school back to school and putting in place the necessary infrastruc­ture, we will still be behind”.

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