Sokoto State goveror, Aminu Tambuwal, on Wednesday, said “the north is not afraid of restructuring of Nigeria’’.
Mr Tambuwal’s statement came against the backdrop of intense clamour by opinion leaders in Nigeria that the country should be restructured forthwith to make progress.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day conference by the Arewa Research & Development Project, Tambuwal said the north was in no way afraid of the consequences of the restructuring of the country.
Restructuring is a key demand being made by mainly geo-political zones in the southern part of the country for the advancement of Nigeria but the north appears to be foot-dragging, according to analysts.
“The idea that the north is against restructuring because it benefits most from the current state of things is circumscribed and patently false.
“The fact that some people continue to parrot such a lie only helps to give credence to the flawed argument. Let us be clear: the north wants restructuring as much as anyone else.
“However, as a people we do not easily jump unto the bandwagon because we are always there for the long haul.
“We believe that any decision we take must be inclusive and respect procedures and processes so that the outcome is sustainable,” the governor said.
Mr Tambuwal, who is Chairman of the Northern States Governors’ Forum and the Northern Traditional Leaders Council Committee on Restructuring of the Nigerian Federation, has recently inaugurated a technical committee to look at the issues surrounding the call for restructuring and get the aggregate views of the north.
The governor said that the outcome of the committee’s work would be used during the proposed town hall/public hearing across the 19 northern states.
“I think we should first, as a country, agree on a mutual definition of the term restructuring.
“In my view, if restructuring means taking stock of our arrangement to ensure that no state takes a disproportionate amount of the resources, or most of the available space in the education or job sector, or subjugate the others’ culture or religion.
“Or lord it over the other so that the number of the poor and uneducated, whose future is circumscribed by their circumstance is shared proportionately, then we are game.
“We all want a country where there is peace and progress, where justice is given, where all lives are safe and people can pursue their legitimate livelihoods wherever they choose.
“I believe each state in this country has areas of comparative advantage and life is a cycle so that what was once the largest revenue earner can in time become less so while something else takes ascendancy.
“As a country we must look to the future and agree on what in the long run will benefit us all. I must give kudos to the organisers for choosing such an appropriate theme for this conference, the north and the future of the Nigerian federation.
“I am glad to see that the organisers have noted the critical role that education must play in any part that the north eventually chooses to take.
“The truth is that the modern world is one that puts premium on human capital rather than natural resources.
“The development of that capital therefore must take precedence over anything else we want to do as a people,” he said.
Mr Tambuwal appealed to the conference participants to make useful suggestions that would strengthen the nation’s unity.
The conference with theme: “The North and the Future of the Nigerian Federation”, is organised in collaboration with the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation.
Other groups participating in the event are the Northern Elders Forum, Northern Delegates Forum, Arewa Consultative Forum, CODE Group, Arewa Reawakening, Jam’iyar Matan Arewa and Northern Youth Organisations.