The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has said it is deeply concerned about the ongoing rift between eminent political and business leaders of Northern Nigeria which is reflecting negatively on the region’s economic and political stability.
The NEF, in a statement by the convener, Professor Ango Abdullahi, and made available to LEADERSHIP in Abuja, yesterday, said the current conflicts between Aliko Dangote and Abdussamad Isiyaku Rabiu over cement prices, as well as the conflict of interest between governor Dauda Lawal of Zamfara State and minister of state for Defence, Bello Mohammed Matawalle, are exacerbating the challenges faced by the Northern region in terms of security and the economy.
In the light of this, NEF has called on the leaders involved in the conflicts to exercise restraint in the interest of the region. The group also called on all leaders and stakeholders in the North to intervene by facilitating a reconciliation meeting among all the parties.
Prof Ango Abdullahi said that it was essential, specifically, for the two leaders of Zamfara – Lawal and Matawalle – to exercise restraint and maturity, and foster a spirit of unity and collaboration against the daunting insecurity in the state, adding that the challenges faced by Zamfara require a collective effort, and it is only through working together that it could be overcome.
“Engaging in unnecessary conflicts and grandstanding only diverts attention from the real issues at hand and hinders progress in the search for collective and coordinated action. The people of the state are already burdened with numerous challenges, including insecurity, poverty, and a struggling economy. As leaders, it is our duty to alleviate these burdens and provide a better future for our citizens. However, by engaging in conflicts among ourselves, we are wasting valuable time and resources that could be better utilized in addressing these pressing issues,” he said.
He noted that Alhaji Dangote and Abdussamad are both eminent business leaders and respected elders of the North who should be in the forefront of setting exemplary conduct for the benefit of the entire region.
Adbullahi said as concerned elders of the North, and in recognition of the reality that the misunderstanding by these critical segments of the Northern leadership is undeniably not in the best tradition of the Northern culture and values, the NEF has resolved to engage the parties on all sides individually and collectively for final resolution of the various misunderstandings.
He urged the conflicting parties to reconsider their ongoing conflicts and refocus on the common goal of securing and improving the lives of the people of the North by restraining themselves and their proxies from going further with the media crossfire.