Former Nigerian leader, Gen. Yakubu Gowon said yesterday that the creation of new states will not solve the nation’s problem, but rather, would increase the cost of governance.
Gowon who spoke through the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) at a two day conference in Kaduna also ask the National Assembly to consider bringing back the Electoral College system in the conduct of future Presidential elections beginning with the 2015 presidential elections.
Although he did not elaborate on the electoral college system, he insisted that the North must come together to forge a common front in other to enjoy political progress and development.
Gowon said “unless we come together in the North, we would continue to have problems. I met with the Senate caucus in the North in Abuja last week and I asked them to reconsider the introduction of Electoral College in electing the president”.
Also speaking at the conference, Kaduna state governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa lamenterd that cases of insecurity in the north has chased away potential investors who would have invested in the agriculture, solid mineral and mining sector of the region.
Yakowa said despite such challenges, the north has always remain a catalyst for the unity of the country, adding that despite the current security challenges, the region will remain a rallying point for the unity and development of the country.
According to him, “the North has been a catalyst for the unity, stability and development of the country. The country has been relying for direction from the North. This is contrary to what some out there would want the world to belief about the North. History has shown that the unity and strength of the North, with a collective sense of purpose and focus has been the bastion for the unity and strength of Nigeria.
We must do everything to sustain this responsibility bestowed on us by providence. We must give credit to Nigerians and to God that Nigeria still remains a country, albeit beleaguered by towering insecurity challenges. In this difficult time, we must work assiduously to adequately address the tolerance level among our people, if we must succeed collectively.
Nigeria, as a multicultural and multilingual nation of diverse people, with more than 250 distinct languages and ethnic groups, cannot continue to behave as a group of irreconcilable religious and ethnic nationalities, contrary to the ‘One North One People’ bequeathed to us by no other than the late Sardauna, Ahmadu Bello.
I have realized that the central message is how the North as an entity would respond to certain challenges in the circumstances it now found itself. From the issues I have heard so far, I have come to realize that the conference is not just on how to merely respond to the challenges the North is facing today, but doing so on research-based findings that would reposition the North positively and adequately.
The search for sustainable development is more comprehensive and better achieved in an atmosphere of democracy and by democrats. Sustainable development is the bedrock for consolidating our democratic enterprise in an atmosphere of freedom and in appreciating our diversity as a people in a nation.
As people’s servants elected with responsibilities that are accountable before man and God, we are committed to working assiduously to ensure that sound democratic principles are upheld in the country.
My candid believe is that the outcome of this conference will rather reinforce this fact of history. As people with responsibilities to our electorates, we are working tirelessly to strengthen the country by building on the solid structures laid by the past Nigerian leaders, such as Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Michael Okpara and Chief Anthony Enahoro among others.
They have laid a foundation for us to transform ourselves into visionary leaders. Leaders with positive pictures in their minds all the time.
A leadership that is preoccupied on changing the economic, political and social landscape of the North and by extension Nigeria in a proactive way. A leader that insists on the diversification of the economy of the North. A leadership that looks beyond the present heavy reliance on petroleum.
A leadership that re-invests the wheels to bring back the groundnut and cotton pyramids of yesteryears in a creative, imaginative and inventive ways. A leadership that mobilizes resources to put pressure on the relevant stakeholders in the Nigerian project to put solid mineral resources under more imaginative scrutiny for the betterment of the north. A leadership that explore and exploit the tourism potentials in many parts of Northern Nigeria.
The presence of these leadership traits is a step toward having a sustainable development that will create an enabling environment for better services, better infrastructure and education; build on sound moral values and respect to human dignity.
We should stop encouraging religious and ethnic intolerance. We should, on the contrary, work hard to transform the mindset of the average Nigerian and guide it into positive channels. Nigeria must be great again. She must start tapping its diverse human and natural resources to the fullest which God has endowed the country with and which we are not adequately taking full advantage of”.