Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State was in Kaduna on Thursday as part of his schedule as chairman of the Northern Committee on Restructuring to kick-start the process aimed at arriving at a common position for the entire northern region on restructuring.
The North is the only region that is yet to take a position on the now vexed issue of restructuring as both the South-east and the South-west have worked out a position in that regard.
However, the northern governors recently set up a committee headed by the Sokoto governor to harmonize the positions of traditional rulers, groups and other stakeholders in that regard.
Other groups like the Arewa Research and Development Project, ARDP, also called for a conference on the matter which would involve the governors, groups, leaders of thought and other intellectuals towards having a common stand.
The ARDP convener, Dr. Usman Bugaje, says the resolution of the conference would form part of what the state governors would be working on as the governors are involved in every stage of the conference.
Though the process is on-going, Tambuwal gave a hint of what may be the guiding principle towards taking a common stand as he says the northern region remains committed to the unity of Nigeria.
He said, “we agreed that a technical committee be set up to work on the previous documents, conferences and position papers and then come back to us within three weeks.
“Thereafter, every state will conduct public hearing and we will be meeting on 24th October 2017 by the grace of God to review all that. So by the end of October, God willing, we shall be able to get back to the larger body of the northern governors forum and northern traditional leaders and Council.”
He said all the issues that are going to be brought up by the technical committee that has been constituted by the committee will be critically looked into so that they can be subjected to a very robust database debate across the North and the outcome of that will be presented to northern governors and traditional rulers.
He said, “there is a process going on in the country for engagement and I am sure the federal government is willing to listen to all these agitations”.
Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who was at the meeting, also supported the idea of dialogue.
“I believe in the conversation. We have just looked into three main items that stood out clearly. The first is that we have heard our commitment to the unity of the country and we are going to have a regional conversation to express the pressing issue that have been raised.
“The second point is that, we have to look into constitutional reform of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This is important because it will help us to answer questions like what exactly is the division of power of state, what exactly should be the role of local government and whether there should be an opportunity for different states to discuss issues around fiscal responsibility, sharing of revenue and all that can be discussed. And not just sharing of revenue but whether entire revenue of the government should be used for payment of salaries, constitution amendment on issue of national minimum wage”, he said.
As the north moves towards adopting a common position, some stakeholders bare their minds on the issues that should be of paramount concern to the region.
Bugaje: Northern idea of restructuring far different from other regions’
Convener of the Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), Dr. Usman Bugaje said the view of the north on restructuring of the country would be far different from what the other regions are proposing as the north will not accept any suggestion to return to six regions.
He said the ARDP is organizing a conference to harmonise the position of northerners which would involve the state governors, traditional rulers, public
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