….Call for implementation of 2014 confab
From: Sola Ojo, Kaduna
The umbrella body of the Southern Kaduna Christian Leaders, the Southern Kaduna Christian Leaders Association (SKCLA), on Tuesday, alleged that their region has been grossly marginalised in the affairs of things by both the state and the Federal Government.
The Association also recommended that the Federal Government revisit the report of 2014 confab, dust it up and implement some part that discussed the way forward for the country to address the lingering agitations for restructuring across the country.
Addressing newsmen in Kafanchan, Jem’a Local Government Area of the state, Chairman of the association, Bishop Simon Peters Mutum said it has become necessary to make clear their stand on certain critical issues that call for urgent attention on the affairs of governance, as it affects the well-being and development of the Southern Kaduna people.
According to him, “We wish to join other well-wishers in thanking God for the life of our President, Muhammadu Buhari and we will continue to pray for him for perfect health and strength to discharge the onerous leadership responsibility God has bestowed upon him at this critical time of our nationhood.
“We have observed that since the advent of democracy the unity of this country has never been threatened as it is now the case. It is also clear for everyone to see that the nation is increasingly being polarised along the dangerous fault lines of religion and ethnicity.
“Government’s inability at all levels to discharge their duties in accordance with their oath of office without resort to primordial considerations or non-altruistic motives have led to the non-salutary state in which we have found our nation today. Policies that ought to foster cohesion are missing and as such many sections of the country complain of non-inclusiveness in governance, ethnic profiling, religious agenda, and nepotism, a lack of federal character in appointments, high-handedness, and corruption amongst others”
He continued, “as responsive and responsible spiritual and societal leaders, it behooves on us at this point in time to declare our stand and lend our voice to those of other Nigerians of goodwill for the salvation and preservation of our country from this ugly trend.
The call for the restructuring of this nation is not new, but never has the need for restructuring become so obvious and the call become so strident. What this speaks of is that the time for restructuring is now and government and the nation have both a legal and moral duty to listen to the voice of the people in the interest of the survival and advancement of our nation.
“The call for restructuring at this time in our history has become necessary because of the immense benefit restructuring the country into a true federation will bring to the people and the nation.
“No one is in doubt also or pretends to be unaware of the all-important fact that restructuring will go a long way in resolving most of the agitations, and inequalities bedeviling our nation as mentioned earlier. It is therefore time that the structure of governance mechanism gives way to a truly federal structure of government with the capacity to deliver more competitive and efficient services to the Nigerian people.
“As the voice of our people, we believe that the arguments in favor of restructuring and creation of more states have already been sufficiently articulated. The 2014 National Confab Report is not only a consensual national document and treatise on the way forward for our nation but also a veritable roadmap for restructuring.
“Never at any time has it become imperative that the Southern Kaduna people have the need to determine their destiny than now. Southern Kaduna has contributed greatly to the building of this great country Nigeria, but have very little to show for it in terms of development from the federal or state governments.
“There is a high and deliberate concentration of polling units among the Hausa-Fulani Muslim settlements in Southern Kaduna and across the northern part of the state, putting the zone at a disadvantage in elective position, particularly the office of the governor.
“This is the cause of the marginalisation in the state, and retrogression as far as human and structural development is concerned. The people of Southern Kaduna are denied of their rights, and are forced to see themselves as minorities in a state that they contribute immensely in its development.
“The recent statement by Governor Nasir El-Rufai at the Town Hall meeting on restructuring in Abuja, where he terms certain peoples in Nigeria as “unequals” is a pointer to the kind of mindset in governance that informs the calls for this state creation. We cannot as a nation continue to condone the politics of marginalization practiced in Kaduna State, where some are denied jobs because of where they come from, and where admissions into tertiary institutions are based on regional preference.
“Facts reflect that the Kaduna South Senatorial Zone is one of the most marginalized senatorial constituencies in the Federation. The only Federal presence is the fringe Federal School of Statistics Manchok and Federal Technical College Kafanchan. There is a Bill for the conversion and upgrading of the school of Statistics to a Federal University of Technology. We therefore call upon the Federal Government to follow up and support the initiative of actualizing the Bill.
“It is also a fact that people from this area have also been marginalized in all appointments made by both federal and state governments. It is constitutionally imperative that all sections of the country and state ought to be considered in the making of appointments by the government. This has not been the case in the present dispensation. We are therefore calling on both federal and state governments to be fair and just by giving our people the representation that is due to Southern Kaduna”, he lamented.