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Marginalization: Afenifere asks NEF to key into call for restructuring

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-Says region requires govt’s attention on security, economy

 

IBRAHIM QUADRI

 

The Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and socio-political organization, Afenifere said the only way to address the issue of marginalization is to key into the call for restructuring, noting the various agitations across the country is a wake-up call on the government to double its efforts in tackling insecurity and enhance the economy.

 

The National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Comrade Jare Ajayi made the remark in response to the Northern Elders Forum (NEF)’s position that the rest of the country will make a terrible mistake if it assumes that the current challenges around security and weak economy have turned the northern part of the country into marginalised territory in the scheme of things in Nigeria.

 

The NEF’e spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman stated this while delivering a speech at an induction ceremony at Zazzau School of Health Technology Tukur, Zaria.

 

Suleiman said the northern region would continue to play a significant role in the affairs of the nation and would remember those who stood by it and those who attempted to take advantage of the current challenges for their selfish gains.

 

He asserted that it was evident that the current leaders and governments in place were either unable or unwilling to effectively tackle these problems.

 

He stated that many of the leaders seemed more interested in maintaining their power and wealth than in serving the people and improving the lives of the northerners.

 

“This lack of commitment to addressing the basic socio-cultural and economic issues facing the North is unacceptable and must be challenged. The rest of the country will make a terrible mistake if it assumes that the current challenges around security and a weak economy have turned the north into marginal elements in all calculations on the future of the nation.

 

“North will continue to play a significant role in the affairs of the nation, and we will remember those who stood by it and those who attempted to take advantage of the current challenges for their selfish gains,” he said.

 

In his reaction, Ajayi said, “There is no doubt that Nigeria is facing a lot of security and economic challenges at the moment. Of course, many of these challenges were inherited from previous administrations. But the challenges are not peculiar to a particular section of the country. Rather, they could be seen in various forms across the nation.”

 

He noted that although many of these challenges were inherited, the present administrations at the national and state levels have the responsibility to tackle the problems, especially given the fact that some of these problems have increased within the last one year despite an increase in revenue, particularly at the state level.

 

He went further to say that since the problems the country is facing cut across various zones, it may not be correct or proper to say that a particular section is deliberately targeted for marginalization.

 

“Reports of insecurity, of inflation and sundry economic downturn filter out every day from every zone. In that wise, the onus on us is to keep calling the attention of those concerned to the challenges people are facing with a view to getting these challenges promptly and properly attended to.”

 

He added that those to whom the calls are being addressed are governments at all levels, federal, state and local, security agencies and other institutions responsible for one sector or another.

 

“The Constitution is clear on how security and welfare of the people are the basic responsibilities of any government in the country. It is high time federal and state governments live up to expectations in these and other regards. Doing so would mean that they are carrying out the duties the Constitution assigned to them. Duties they volunteered to carry out.”

 

Ajayi further added that Afenifere is consistently pushing for restructuring to address an area that Dr Abdulazeez is talking about- regional marginalization.

 

“If the country is restructured and constituent entities in the country have more powers to determine and control their own affairs, the issue of marginalization would no longer be there,” he submitted.

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