By Sunday Isuwa, Abuja
Former Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has stated his support for the North Central Peoples Forum adding that the North Central region is the future of the country.
Saraki said the mineral resources deposit in the region is a huge source of income in the future.
Speaking when he received the leaders of the North Central People’s Forum (NCPF), in his house yesterday in Abuja, Saraki noted that the North Central region belongs to Nigeria and deserves every consideration others will get in the 2023 permutations.
He said, “If it is about development for our people, you have my support. This initiative aimed at development is long overdue.
“If you talk about the unity of this country, you must factor in the North Central. If you are talking about the future of this country, it lies on many of the resources like minerals and agriculture that our region has. This is why forums like this are crucial — because it will give us a credible platform to push for the holistic development of our region.”
Saraki who was made patron of the NCPF, said he was very happy with the formation of the forum adding that the concept for the establishment of the NCPF was for the people of the region to come together and share ideas on how to develop the area.
“The nomenclature is now clear, the boundaries are clear. The whole purpose is for development. Politics should not be considered at this stage. The future of the country lies on North Central because of the mineral resources,” Saraki said adding that, “if the North Central is developed, Nigeria will develop.”
He said his father, Olusola, and Chief Sunday Awoniyi did their best for the region and called on the people of the North Central to ensure that they support the leaders of the region to take it to a greater height.
While urging the leaders of NCPF to take their work seriously, Saraki called for unity among Nigerians.
“There are many areas Nigeria can explore to develop. Areas of agriculture and mineral resources need to be developed. As I said, we have all these in abundance in the North Central.
“If you look across the North Central region, irrigation farming is inadequate considering the huge opportunity we have. We need to make it a priority not only for the North Central region but the entire country. That is where the future is. If the North Central developed, the better it is for the country,” Saraki added.
On the 2023 permutations, Saraki said the North Central region is part of Nigeria and deserves every consideration.
“North Central is part of Nigeria, North Central has the right like every other part of Nigeria. I believe your question is answered,” Saraki said when our correspondent asked him about the 2023 permutations.
Earlier, the Board of Trustees (BoT) chairman of the NCPF, Gen Jeremiah Useni, said the establishment of the defunct Middle Belt Congress with the former Senate leader, Olusola Saraki, was so broad and they needed a forum that would protect the interest of the North Central People.
He said though the NCPF is an organisation different from the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), it doesn’t mean that the members are out of their mother body.
He said the ACF started from their zone adding that its first chairman was late Chief Sunday Awoniyi.
According to Useni, the North West region is fighting for a development commission just like the North East has.
“Our interest is for peace to reign. What we want is peace. We are here to give you the constitution of the NCPF and also announced your choice as one of the patrons of the forum,” Useni told Saraki.