John Adams, Minna
Former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida and Former Head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar have both thrown their weights behind the formation of the North Central Peoples’ Forum, describing the idea as a welcomed development for the North Central geopolitical zone of the county.
The two former leaders’ endorsement of the Forum is against the recent position of the North Central Governor’s Forum who distanced itself from the Forum, saying it was illegal.
The North Central Governor’s Forum (NCGF) Chaired by the Niger state Governor Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello in a communique after its meeting in August practically disowned the North Central Peoples Forum “saying that the group is not recognized by the leadership of the North Central geopolitical zone”.
But General Babangida and General Abdulsalami, in a separate audience with the leadership of the Forum led by the former Minister of FCT and People Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the 2019 General election in plateau state, Lt.Gen. Jerimah Useni in Minna on Tuesday, expressed their total support for the Forum.
The first point of call by the Forum was the residence of General Abdulsalami Abubakar where the former head of state told the leadership of the Forum that the formation of the regional group was long overdue.
General Abdulsalami commended those behind the formation of the North Central People’s Forum, saying it will bring the necessary harmony among the people of the zone.
He urged the Forum to focus its activities on how to attract development to the region which he said is blessed with human and material resources, stressing that “with the calibre of people that I have seen here today, I am convinced that they will galvanize the region to a greater height”.
General Babangida while receiving the Forum at his hilltop residence, said the formation of the Forum is the best thing that has happened to the region which he pointed out is an envy of other regions.
Babangida said that God has bless the North Central zone, but it has not been able to organize itself to play a leading role in the scheme of things in the country.
According to him, “you have made my day today. I have heard of North East, North West commission, South South Peoples Forum and the rest of them but when I didn’t hear of North Central, I kept wondering what was happening until this day.
“I know you will be the envy of all the regions. In the area of votes, the North Central has more than the North West, yet North West makes more noise than the North Central.
Babangida therefore commended the leadership of the Forum for a job well done, and expressed his total support to enable it succeed in all its activities.
Earlier, the Chairman Board of Trustee (BOT) of the Forum, Lt. General Jeremiah Useni told the two former leaders that the Forum is not in anyway a breakaway from the Arewa Consultative Forum, adding that just like every other regional bodies, the North Central Forum was formed to address some development challenges in the zone.
He said that Forum will go along way in bringing the needed peace, harmony and development in the zone, pointing out that “with this Forum, there shouldn’t be any disharmony anymore in the zone”.