Naturally, the first impression one would assume on hearing the composition of nineteen states in a federation into an umbrella body, would be that of an enormous body of men with strength, vision, political power and will to make things happen across the member states. But sadly that has not been the case with the popular Nigerian Northern GovernorsÃ¢€™ Forum over the years since its composition.
One would have expected to see a vibrant and efficient forum with ideas and initiatives that surpassed the SouthÃ¢€“South Governors Forum and its other counterpart in the South-East and South-West, based on their number and personalities. Again the expected vibrancy and efficiency of the NGF has left many analysts in confusion and ponder; this especially as regards their visions and plans for the north and its people in general.
One topmost case is that of one of the northern governors from the middle belt who over the week seems to be enjoying his stuffy utterances in the media, this by coming out brazenly to tell the world that he cannot pay the stipulated N18, 000 minimum wage to his state workers even if they should go on strike for one full year. What a shame that people like that are still left to rule a state. To me, this governor is nothing but a political leader who lacks diplomacy and the intrigues of governance. Therefore, he should be shown out and made to see how possible it has always been to make the impossible work.
It is a disgrace to the NGF that when other less endowed states, with human and natural resources in the country have agreed to pay this stipend, most governors from the region are still bickering and grumbling over an amount most of them squander on frivolities within a short time. Over the years since the inception of the new political dispensation the northern governors have all along been relegated to the background, unlike those days when the north had visionary governors and administrators who served their region with zeal and patriotism. What we have today is a divided north that has been colourized with religious, tribal and ethnic bigotry; part of the reasons why the north is now facing all the wahala and kata-kata bedeviling it; ranging from poor infrastructure, poverty, almajiri syndrome,illiteracy,economic retrogression, insecurity, religious crises, including child killer disease such as polio, and the current Boko Haram carnage.
Is it not a shame that the loudest voices against the implementation of the minimum wage has been echoing from nowhere but from our purported northern governors? Is it not a big embarrassment to our northern leaders that the north over the years has been doing nothing to salvage its economic potential other than waiting helplessly like beggars for the disbursement of the federal allocations? Or is it not a disgrace that the north has the highest number of able bodied youths wasting their lives and pride as achaba and okada riders in the country? Has it occurred to them that it is actually a humiliation on them in the eyes of other regions and the entire world as they fold their hands and watch every day as young innocent children are left in rags to roam about with bowls in search of remnants?
What respect do they actually expect from their counterparts from the other regions and the world when they have failed to revive most of the abandoned industries and establishments in their domain and create employment for the teeming number of unemployed youths in the region? Are they not ashamed that while other regions are refurbishing and building new media outfits and other modern establishment for their zone, and using them effectively to carry out their messages, they the northern leaders have closed their ears and eyes to the decay going on within their own backyards, instead they are more contented to spend millions churning out adverts,canvassing with other media out of their region, making nonsense of the great adage that Ã¢€˜charity should begin at homeÃ¢€™.
Is it not actually a national embarrassment that the NGF could watch as great establishment like the Northern Nigeria Development Company (NNDC), the Arewa Hotels, the Arewa Textile Industry, Kaduna Polytechnic, Ahmadu Bello University and the famous New Nigerian Newspapers disappear under their eyes? Are they really comfortable with the fact that history would definitely judge them as those who could not salvage the north when it needed their support and vision most?
Maybe part of the questions they should start asking themselves are: have they been really relevant in the eyes of their people, apart from some sycophants who mingle among them every day, advising and deceiving them with outdated policies like the sharing of motorcycles to youths for achaba business in this 21st century? Is it not possible to revive the economic potential of this great region and initiate ideas and methods of generating remarkable internally generated revenue? Have they been able to harmonize the agitations and needs of the region? Are they sincere in the discharge of their duties? Why canÃ¢€™t they use the advantage of their enormous population, huge manpower, numerous local government councils, abundant mineral resources and diversification to redeem the image and decay of their once prosperous region?
Perhaps one big question they should be able to ask themselves is: ShouldnÃ¢€™t there be a change of baton in the leadership of the NGF? Is the composition of the present NGF supposed to remain stagnant just as it has been for the past four years? ShouldnÃ¢€™t there be an urgent need for new officials and a fresh thinking? Again, what is the focus of the NGF and how much has it been able to proffer to the decay in the northern educational system and the regionÃ¢€™s relegation in the present day Nigeria?
So many questions indeed for the 19 states northern governors and their team of advisers; but certainly the people are watching and listening to their utterances and actions, and undoubtedly they shall be judged right here in the north at the end of their tenure one day; this before the supreme judgment of their creator, which none of them can ever run away from.
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Chioma Abuja, Nigeria November 09, 2015
This is nothing but the truth.
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