A pressure group, Arewa Economic Renewal Forum (AERF) has highlighted some of the conditions including a blueprint for human capital development and the development of the economic potentials of Northern Nigeria for its people to support any of the candidates in the forthcoming presidential election.
Members of the group drawn from different parts of the north said as the 2023 general election inches closer, “we are at a crossroads and are constrained to reserve the pool of our vote for a candidate with our interest at heart as we will no longer settle for less.”
Against this backdrop, the Arewa Economic Renewal Forum is demanding a strategic blueprint for the rapid renewal and economic transformation of Northern Nigeria from all aspirants gunning for the nation’s top job.
Part of the conditions is that the potentially preferred candidate must have a plan that entails a visible roadmap to reviving comatose Northern industries, harnessing virgin resources and utilisation of demographic advantages for the empowerment of our people in terms of education and wealth creation.
“Failure to do so will be at the detriment of candidate electoral bid as we await to pledge our unalloyed support and galvanise massive vote for any of the contenders who brings forth the most viable and acceptable blueprint in line with our demands,” AERF chairman, Ibrahim Shehu Yahaya said while addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday.
A top member of the forum, Rabiu Tukur Hassan, said the demands of the group, if met, will surely have a positive effect on the rest parts of Nigeria, a reason he called for national support for the peace, development and progress of Northern Nigeria.
Yahaya and other members of the forum insisted that 2023 is the time for the north to restore its lost glory by throwing its weight behind any presidential, governorship and other candidates with viable economic blueprint for restoration of the region.
“Over the years, Nigeria, and especially the North, has suffered epileptic form of leadership, borne out of the lacklustre attitude of elected persons to engineer the much-desired economic prosperity.
“The resultant consequence for our region is poverty, substandard education, lack of access to credit financing and other negative underdevelopment indicators,” he said.
“It is geologically created in such an advantageous way that it can allow for 12 months of agriculture, yet only 23 percent of the landmass is fully utilised for agricultural purposes,” he stated.
The group said the inability of successive administrations to exploit these resources in mainstreaming human development has remained the greatest albatross for the region.