Princess Simon (Bureau Chief, North-Central)
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, a North-Central-based political group known as the North Central Network for a Better Nigeria has canvassed for a better representation of the zone in the coming dispensation.
The group is also agitating that the North-Central Z should be accorded the exclusive zonal right to produce a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari at the end of his tenure in 2023.
The group insists that though the North-Central zone has produced Nigerian leaders of northern extraction in the persons of General Yakubu Gowon, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) and General Abdulsalami Abubakar as well as two Senate Presidents (Senator David Mark and Dr. Bukola Saraki), the zone deserves more, considering what it is giving out in the making of today's Nigeria.
The Director-General of the North-Central Network for Better Nigeria, Ambassador Jibril Abdullahi Muregi, who stated this while addressing journalists in Minna on Wednesday, August 25, 2021, said the zone has not been adequately rewarded politically and therefore wants political parties and political gladiators to consider zoning their Presidential candidates to North-Central Zone for "fairness, equity, justice, and political inclusiveness" .
The group also stated that the North-Central contributed more than 50% votes for the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari during the 2019 election, hence they deserve to be accorded the exclusive right to produce a successor for the incumbent President in the 2023 dispensation.
Explaining the groups’ 9-points demands to journalists, Muregi also wants the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) implemented in a just, equitable and transparent manner to cover all deserving states and communities irrespective of their geographical locations.
Muregi further argued that the North-Central states comprising Niger, Benue, Kwara, Nasarawa, Plateau, Kogi states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, has, over the years, acted as the bridge linking the north to southern Nigeria and the third most populous geo-political zone, blessed with both human and material resources yet not adequately rewarded for that.
“Despite this strength, the zone has been sidelined politically and relegated to the position of playing the third backward roles in the political affairs and configuration of Nigeria”, Muregi pointed out, adding that it is unfortunate that the highest political office the zone currently occupies now is that of the office of the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives.
As part of strategies to change the narratives for the zone to be re-integrated into Nigeria’s mainstream politically, Muregi said the group engaged in planning, advocacy, lobbying, strategic alliances, as well as uniting political gladiators ahead of the next dispensation.
A situation whereby the political numerical strength of the zone is relegated to the background, Muregi said, is totally unacceptable to the zone. “As a first step, the Network is strongly appealing to major political parties in Nigeria to zone their Presidential tickets to the North-Central as they conduct their congresses”.
He condemned, in strong terms, the increasing spate of killings and kidnapping, including the most recent, Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna invasion by bandit gunmen despite claims by the government that Boko-Haram and armed bandits have been crushed.
Muregi commiserated with the families of all those that lost their loved ones, adding, however, that security threats will naturally come to an end if the present dispensation had upheld justice, equity, and fairness, in all government businesses.
Muregi however emphasized the need for older Nigerian politicians to begin to give way for youths in 2023. “Our agitation would make Nigeria united. It is also linked to the quest for generational change. This is the time to put into practice the Not-too-young to rule act”.
Also, speaking on the worsening security situation in the zone, Kwara state representative of the group, Comrade Kazeem Adekaiye, said there is an urgent need to upscale the security architecture of Nigeria, by imploying proper technology in the fight against insecurity.
Adekaiye said involving youthful Nigerians in governance would drastically bring about an end to security challenges. He explained that deploying drones and other technological innovations will go a long way in reducing the frightening dimension insecurity has taken.
According to him, “If people are aware that with the technology they will be exposed, they will be traced, arrested and prosecuted by the law, to at least serve as a deterrent to others, they will not indulge in crime and criminality, especially that involving taking human lives”. NNL.