The ranks of pan Northern Social political organization, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) suffered further depletion, Wednesday, when one of its major components, the North Central zone announced its decision to pull out of the forum.
Citing the continued state of insecurity that has ravaged their zone, the North Central geo political zone members of ACF disclosed that it had floated its own independent association, the North Central Peoples Forum which they said was registered last Friday to help fight against insecurity and marginalization in the zone.
The group regretted that the zone has suffered severally in the hands of their assumed brothers from the North, noting that in spite of the abundant mineral and human resources available in the zone, the North Central has become endangered species in the comity of zones in the country with kidnapping, banditry and other forms of criminality taking place in all states within the zone.
The development is coming even as the ACF is currently been headed by a son of the North Central geopolitical zone, the immediate past Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh as its Chairman.
The new group, which has former Minister of State for Health, Gabriel Aduku, as interim Chairman also have as members, \some prominent leaders of the zone who came together to form the Forum include former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Senator Jerry Useni, former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu.
Others include former Military Administrator of Kwara State, Col. David Bamigboye (rtd), former Deputy Chief of staff to the President, Chief Olusola Akomode, Publisher of Leadership Newspaper Sam Nda-Isaiah, former Nigeria Ambassador to South Africa who is also a former Deputy Governor of Niger state, Ahmed Musa Ibeto, a media consultant, Alhaji Tajudeen Kareem, former Deputy Governor of Benue state, Chief Stephen Lawani and Alhaji Alfa Mohammed among others
Addressing the gathering, Senator Useni who is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Forum said the existence of similar groups in other parts of the country has given rise to group affinity and solidarity among the States in a particular geo-political zone to canvass things of common interest.
Useni expressed confident that the Forum would unite the people of Benue, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Niger, Plateau and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in their quest to ensure that peace and stability is established and sustained within the zone, adding that it will pursue rapid industrialization across all nooks and crannies of the zone as well as pursue policies and process that would ensure that the massive solid mineral and agricultural endowments were adequately harnessed.
According to him, “the Forum is also aimed at ensuring cooperation and support the good policies and administration of the six governors of the zone irrespective of our political, religious and ethnic differences; support and cooperate fully with the Federal Government for full and complete implementation of infrastructures, development projects situated in the zone and involvement of the people of the zone in the National affairs of the country and promote, defend and strengthen North Central unity and interest of its people in the context of one indivisible Nigeria and to contribute in safeguarding her territorial integrity
“It is in similar vein that the South-West Zone of Nigeria established the Afenifere Group, a Yoruba socio-political organization that is constantly being used to draw Federal Government attention to their common challenges. The South-East people of Nigeria have the Ohanaeze Indigbo as their own socio-political platform for mobilizing their people to actualize political and economic objectives that may attract positive development to their zone
“Recently, the people of North-East floated a body called the North- East Elder’s Forum for the attainment of similar objectives who succeeded in getting the North-East Commission approved by the Federal Government. It is in the light of the foregoing that it becomes imperative and pertinent for us as a zone to rise to the challenges and launch our own geo-political platform from where we can draw the attention of relevant authorities on the need to address various socio-economic, political and securities challenges ravaging our zone.”
In his speech, interim Chairman of the Forum and former Minister of State for Health, Arc. Gabriel Aduku, said that the zone which is made up of a population of over 25 million people spread across 71 tribes has suffered serious neglect with insecurity now the order of the day.