Mr. Maku said the president is developing the North far better than any northerner who ruled Nigeria.
Information Minister Mr. Labaran Maku has condemned the provocative utterances of some northern politicians, who aim to incite the North against the administration and person of President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the 2015 general elections. The Minister who came down hard on those he described as self-serving politicians who spread hatred and threaten violence in pursuance of morbid personal political ambitions, spoke in his office during a courtesy call by a political awareness group, the Goodluck/Sambo National Organisation of Ulama Media Forum.
Mr. Maku observed that this class of politicians are furthering their campaign of calumny and blackmail against the President by spreading lies to the people of the North through the media.
“People who call themselves politicians, they will go to radio stations, go to television stations and make dangerous statements, which will create confusion, create hatred, which will set people against each other, which will incite violence. This is what we have been witnessing in the North since 2011. Beginning with 2011 elections, we have continued to witness this unfortunate tendency from leaders, not all leaders, some leaders among us who are always inciting people.
“You will recollect that during the 2011 general elections, especially presidential election, people tried to turn the election into a religious war”, he said.
Mr. Maku recalled with sadness that life and property of people were destroyed in the north for no other reason than supporting the President to victory in 2011 election and said the trend must be reversed in the interest of peace and national cohesion.
The Minister warned that wherever violence and hatred thrive, peace and development would elude the people of the area while emphasising that “all these violence going on now in the north, it’s northerners that are dying mostly. If you say you love your house, you will not go and cause confusion in your house or set it on fire”.
He reminded northern politicians that since independence, the region had been ruling the country and enjoyed utmost support and cooperation from all sections of the country, which is only ideal for the north to reciprocate the gesture by supporting the south-south to complete their natural tenure of two terms for the first time in history.
“Since independence, we have more northerners ruling Nigeria and people did not cause trouble because we were ruling. Whenever we were president whether military head of state or civilian, the southerners did not say let there be war because some northerners are ruling or let us raise a religious war or let’s create confusion in the country. We ruled and ruled and ruled and they cooperated with us”, Mr. Maku stated.
The Minister dispelled the notion that President Jonathan is anti-north and said, on the contrary, the President is developing the region far better than any northerner who ruled the country.
He mentioned that of the thirteen universities established by the present administration, ten were located in the north as a deliberate policy to expand access to education and develop the human capacity in the north.
The Minister listed the construction of over 100 Almajiri schools, dredging of River Niger, construction of Baro and Lokoja seaports, construction of standard gauge rail-line from Abuja to Kaduna which will eventually link up to Kano, restoration of train services from Lagos to Kano, construction of a power plant in Kaduna, dualisation of Maiduguri-Kano road, revamping of agriculture, construction of Oweto Bridge in Loko to link Benue and Nasarawa States, and reactivation of Kaduna Refinery as some of the projects executed by the President in the North.
He implored the northern politicians denigrating the President to appreciate his development stride in the region and support his administration to consolidate the Transformation Agenda, which is already expanding the frontiers of development in the North.
Speaking earlier, the leader of Goodluck/Sambo National Organisation of Ulama Media Forum, Mohammed Dabiru Sabiu, decried the orchestrated campaign of slander against the President in the north based on tribe, region and religion.
He said the elite in the North ought to promote national consciousness in a heterogeneous country like Nigeria instead of fanning the embers of discord and division for selfish political agenda.
Mr. Sabiu who reminded the people that power comes from God, confirmed the development projects spread across the various sectors in the north by the present administration, especially in the area of education through the establishment of Almajiri schools and health as evidenced in the marked reduction of polio cases reported in the north.