Following speculations that the recent formation of North Central States People’s Forum (NCPF) was a pull out from the northern mouthpiece, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), the stakeholders said if they actually pulled out, the ACF would collapse, it won’t stand anymore.
Speaking with some Journalists shortly after ACF meeting penultimate Wednesday in Kaduna, the National Publicity Secretary of NCPF, Audu Sule said the speculation was baseless and of no effect because north central is the backbone of ACF.
Recalled that shortly after the NCPL was formed few months ago by notable stakeholders from the north central zone, speculations was ripe across the country that it was a pull out from ACF.
However, Sule pointed out that the pioneer brains behind the formation of ACF, the mother umbrella of northerners were mostly people from the north central and as such they won’t abandon the house they built.
“We are part of the North, we are part of ACF, in fact the founding members of the ACF are from the North-Central. The first Chairman of ACF is the Emir of Ilorin, after the Emir of Ilorin, late Sunday Awoniyi took over. So, you can now see that we cannot build a house and leave it for other people to live in.
“So, we are fully part of the the North and we can die for the North and the interest of the North, that is our region and that is where we belong. Besides, ACF is our baby, because the pioneer leaders are from North-Central.
“That is why we are telling the whole world that, the North-Central States and Abuja are fully part of the North and fully part of ACF.
“You can also see that, the current Chairman of ACF, Chief Audu Ogbeh is equally from the North-Central. The immediate past Secretary-General, Chief Anthony Sani is from the North-Central. Our present Chairman of BoT in the North Central People’s Forum was first the Deputy Chairman of ACF and he later became Chairman of the Board of Trustees of ACF, that is General JT Useni (Retd).
“What informed the formation of the North Central People’s Forum is that, we have a peculiar problem and we have to come together as a people to confront our challenges.
“The challenges border on security, infrastructure and development in general. So, we felt we need to sit down as a people. Remember, all of us in the North-Central were under the defunct Benue Province before it was divided into states, that is why we felt we need to have a voice.
“It is also a forum where we articulate our issues and bring them to a larger house under the ACF, rather than having individual states bringing their issues separately.
“If you also look at the location of North-Central, you will discover it is the engine room of this country; we have the hydro power and we are going to fight for the establishment of North-Central Development Commission, because the South-South is using the Niger Delta Development Commission to get extra money from the Federal Government for its development.
“We have the solid minerals here too; go to Kogi, go to Kwara, Niger, Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa, we have a lot of solid minerals there. Is it the the Tin Mining Industry in Plateau? Is it the Ajaokuta Steel Rolling Mill in Kogi? Is it the Hydro Power in Minna? What are our people getting out of it?
“So, we want to make sure that our people start benefiting from whatever they are blessed with. We don’t have oil, but we have what the Government diversify into today and make more money than it is doing in oil. That is why we feel that, we should leave a legacy for coming generations to inherit.
“Most of our leaders have served this country diligently. We are proud that the democracy we are enjoying today was midwifed by a son of the North-Central, General Abdulsalam Abubakar. General Ibrahim Babangida was able to move the capital of Nigeria all the way from Lagos to North-Central, which is part of the North.
“Gowon sacrificed to bring Nigeria together as one. All these three people are from North-Central and we want to ensure that their labours are not in vain.
“Our people need development and we are going to pursue that with Federal Government, we are going to collaborate with the Federal Government, to ensure cooperation with our Governors irrespective of our political affiliations.
“So, the aim of forming this forum is to pursue the establishment of North-Central Development Commission, so that any money that comes through that commission can do good road from Lokoja to Ilorin, from Abaji to Nasarawa to Keffi and so on.
“But, despite the existence of the North Central People’s Forum, we still belong to ACF, in fact we need ACF more to achieve our goal because, as a mother body, when we bring our issue to ACF and it is amplified, the Government will know this is the North speaking”. Audu stated.