Ribadu asks the North to work on solving its problems rather than pointing fingers.
A presidential candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, Nuhu Ribadu, has said that the security and socio-economic challenges bedeviling the Northern part of Nigeria today, were a reflection of the dire condition of Nigeria as a country.
Speaking Monday at a forum of Northern elders and leaders in Kano, Mr. Ribadu blamed the failure of strong leadership, unity, and strategic planning as some of the issues responsible for the failure of the region and Nigeria to rise behind their current status.
“The story of the North’s deterioration is a replica of the Nigeria’s story. Searching solutions to these challenges also means groping for the ropes to a better future for our dear country. I am a believer in the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria, under which we are a federating unit with 72 per cent of the total landmass and more than half of the population, according to the 2006 headcount. As such, we have to first situate ourselves within the larger prism of the country. As part of a federal system, the North can legitimately articulate its own philosophy and tools for development as some people within the nation have done,” he said. “To achieve whatever agenda is for the North, we must first integrate ourselves fully into the Nigerian entity and the world as it is in this 21st century. In this journey we are making, we have to continue to evaluate and from time to time, shake up or shake off practices, norms and dogmas that hinder our progress.”
The former Economic and Financial Crimes, EFCC, chairman explained that there was the need for deep introspection and self-cleansing in efforts to find solutions to the North’s problems.
“We must first put our house in order before pointing accusing finger at someone for trespass. Putting this house in order means getting our acts together; it means cleaning ourselves of the quicklime that keep us in a standing position without any movement,” he said.
According to him, the challenges facing the North could be turned into positives if the leaders and people of the region decide to draw lessons from the misfortunes and work on solving important questions of development.
“Yes, we are in difficult times but I see opportunities in our difficulty. A lot of places have gone under such difficulties but with much introspection and self-cleansing, they emerge out of it stronger. Hard time, it is said, is like the washing machine; it twists, turns and knocks you around but it makes you come out clean. Nothing ever goes without teaching us something to learn,” he said.
On the current insurgency ravaging parts of the North, Mr. Ribadu said it was part of a global phenomenon afflicting countries with a major Muslim population such as Afghanistan, Somalia and Pakistan. “However, it is the ability of the constituted authorities to manage it and successfully contain it that differentiate ours from what happens elsewhere,” he pointed out.
He added that the escalation of the campaign of violence was due to “having in place incompetent system and institutions that do not take any proactive step. A quality leadership is the one that recognises a problem even before it becomes an emergency. This insurgency therefore thrives due to disaster of a leadership that failed to detect a problem, tackle it and solve it even before it goes out of hand”.
For an end to challenges facing the North and Nigeria, Mr. Ribadu prescribed having a competent and responsible leadership that would unite and not polarise the people along ethnic and religious lines.
“Nigeria needs a competent leadership that can have the courage and sincerity to confront our major predicaments head on. Such leadership must also have the audacity to expunge corruption from our system which is responsible for majority of the challenges we are complaining of today,” he said.
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