Some prominent Nigerians from the Northern region of the country have met on a non-partisan ground, called the Abuja Roundtable, to tackle the socio-economic and security challenges in the region.
Some of the personalities in attendance include elder stateman Alhaji Bashir Tofa, former INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Ms Naja’atu Tijjani, member of Police Service Commission and others.
Former Presidential candidate, Tofa while addressing journalists in Abuja on Tuesday disclosed that the group was formed as a platform to address the security challenges in the region and other issues.
“We are fully aware that attaining these objectives will not be easy as the conditions and forces of division have taken root and have been left to fester unchecked over a long period.”
“But the journey of a thousand miles, they say, begins with a single step. We are also hopeful that, as collective victims who have paid the price of division, our people have arrived at the realisation that unity is required to resolve other challenges afflicting the region.”
“Recent consultations with eminent political, traditional and religious leaders across the north are encouraging. They reveal a strong desire to remove all obstacles to northern unity and a commitment to overcome its challenges.”
“We will widen and deepen these consultations in the coming weeks, months and, if necessary, years to attain our objectives,”
Tofa said, “We are the ones who occupy this region, we are the ones who suffer the consequences of its diminution and we are the ones who must remedy the situation. It is in our common and enlightened interest to do so.”
He expressed hope that a new, united, secure and prosperous north as possible, ”but we have to work for it collectively in equity, good faith, mutual respect, love and goodwill towards each other.”
Tofa called for more and better coordination among the military and security agencies as well as the civilian population.
Others in attendance were former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Yayale Ahmed, former Gov. Ramalan Yero of Kaduna, former Gov. Attahiru Bafarawa of Sokoto, former Gov. Abdulfatai Ahmed of Kwara, and former Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku.
Also former Minister of Interior, retired Gen. Abdulrahaman Dambazau, former FCT Minister, Dr Aliyu Modibbo, former, Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Martin Agwai, Sen. Abdul Ningi and former Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Idi Hong were in attendance.