Noah Ebije, Kaduna
The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has expressed worry over current restiveness of youth in the North, saying that it is a great threat to the development of the region and Nigeria at large.
In his opening remarks at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of ACF on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Forum and former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said one of the ways to curb the restiveness is to reconnect with the youth and support them achieve their aspirations.
Chief Ogbeh also expressed concern over tension across the country owing to SARS protest, saying: ‘There is tension in the land so we will try as much as possible to end the meeting on good time so that those who are travelling will not go by night.’
The ACF Chairman thanked the Forum for finding him worthy to be appointed as the leader of the northern socio-cultural outfit, adding that he felt honoured to meet with members for the first time since the new executive came on board.
He noted that: ‘This is the year of our 20th anniversary whose elaborate celebration has been made impossible by the Coronavirus. This notwithstanding, we must make progress.
‘In the face of current realities and pressing needs, we must re-strategise and refocus our energies on new developments. We have challenges, serious challenges to deal with.
‘These are very well known to all of us. They are social, economic and political in nature. We can and must confront them headlong through investment in education, agriculture and industry.
‘We must bring along the youth, our own children and reconnect with them, support them and even learn from them. We can no longer ignore them and their demands. As we only do so at our own peril.
‘The current restiveness of the youth particularly in the North is a potent threat to the wellbeing of the Region and the nation at large. It is my hope that now, more than ever before, is the time for all stakeholders to buckle up and save our children and secure their future.
‘ACF has come a long way in its mission to safeguard the interest of the North. This could be done through the existence of strong State Chapters who should be a catalyst for purposeful engagement. I therefore strongly urge you to take every step to ensure the existence and strengthening of ACF chapters in your respective States. It is also through you that we can expand our membership
‘We must be conscious of our unity both in the North and Nigeria-at-large. I wish to prevail on you to continue to exercise caution and passion to strengthen the unity of the Nation within our strength.
‘Let me thank you most sincerely for your kindness and goodness of heart in finding me suitable for the Chairmanship of this Forum. Let us together to grow the North, and develop and unite Nigeria.’
As at the time of filing this report, a communiqué is being expected at the end of the meeting that may last till late hours.