Northern elite under the aegis of Arewa New Agenda (ANA) are set to engage the Federal Government with a set of proposals on how to stem insecurity and poverty, especially in the North and the country in general.
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Yayale Ahmed, revealed this at the opening of the “Follow-on Conference on Tackling Poverty in Northern Nigeria” in Abuja at the weekend.
In Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State capital yesterday, elder statesman and Senior Advocate of Nigeria(SAN) Afe Babalola admonished President Bola Tinubu to adopt solution-driven interventions for the economic and security challenges facing Nigerians.
ANA Convener, Ahmad MoAllahyidi, presented the proposals to the elders that included former governors- Isa Yuguda and Sani Yerima-; Jonathan Zwingina, Babangida Ngoruje, former Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Danladi Kifasi; Fatima Adams and Chairman, National Hajj Commission, Jalal Arabi.
Ahmed said: “As elders, we agreed and submitted to the service of Nigeria and to the upliftment of the northern part of Nigeria, not because we are broken but it’s because we are realists.
“We want to change our style and strategies in dealing with the issues and problems of northern Nigeria.
“Our responsibility is not to just say the Government is not working, government must work through our contributions, the government must be responsible through our being responsible, the government must be committed through our commitment.
“We are a patriotic group of Nigerians, the outcomes of these efforts will be communicated to the people that are in power for improvement of the generality of the people.”
ANA also emphasised the need for the Federal Government to actively support the North in leveraging the Nigerian Start-Up for Businesses Act of 2022. This, it said, would enable companies in the region to conduct research, provide training, and develop globally impactful products.
The proposals, according to ANA Convener Ahmad MoAllahyidi, are Pathway to Prosperity Approach, Farming and Agriculture as well as the establishment of Integrated Enterprising Productivity Inclusion Platforms in each of the 19 Northern states.
The Pathway to Prosperity Approach involves matching vulnerable households and communities with the necessary skills to participate in the local economy actively. It will in the first instance support 100,000 vulnerable households per state to increase production and productivity within 15 months.
On Farming and Agriculture, ANA proposes the expansion of arable land in the country to 65 percent within four years.
ANA also plans to see 10 million jobs created for youth and other demographics through the Integrated Enterprising Productivity Inclusion Platforms.
MoAllahyidi said: “The model has the potential to generate over N50 trillion cumulative per capital income annually, while insurgency, banditry and other social vices will be reduced drastically.
“It will also boost our foreign reserve earnings and stabilize our economy
“Training of youths on renewable energy systems (solar, wind and biomass) as a component of livelihoods enhancement and a response to climate change.
“Passing on the gift is a social intervention concept and the anticipated result from the scheme is to service up to 1,000 households per state for the 19 States.
“Another proposal is the tissue culture for propagation of seedlings which is a simplified neglected intervention. This is a concept that builds an average of two million seedlings a year using micro-propagation.”
ANA also appealed to the Federal Government to reconsider some policy measures, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) sanctions on Niger Republic, particularly the closure of borders.
It noted that the reconsideration was necessary due to the negative implications for the economy of the states in the North.
Babalola seeks urgent solution to inflation, naira devaluation
Elder statesman Babalola listed inflation, naira depreciation and kidnapping as issues that have put Nigerians in pain.
Babalola, at the sixth induction of 161 Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) medical doctors, said the surge in inflation and the “worthless” value of the naira had further imposed hardship on Nigerians and eroded the production capacities of small and medium-scale enterprises.
The ABUAD founder added that the economic pressure propels some frustrated Nigerians into criminal activities, including kidnapping.
Describing the recent killing of some monarchs by kidnappers as “an unusual development,” the elder statesman said, “something has to be urgently done about the issue of kidnapping.”
Babalola also stressed the urgent need for the Federal Government to boost local food production and for the migration of Nigerians, otherwise known as Japa syndrome, to be checked.
He specifically enjoined the inducted medical doctors to shun the urge to ply their trade abroad.
His words: “The Japa syndrome is a development in the country. This syndrome has to stop and the only way to stop it is to increase the salaries and wages of workers, which in my case I did by increasing the salary of my workers by 35 percent.
“Many farmers have left their farmland now because of kidnappers, something has to be urgently done about the issue of kidnapping. Farmers have to be encouraged to go back to their farms.
“It is saddening that monarchs are killed, it is an unusual development. what is behind all these is that we have no money, our money has no value and our currency is as worthless as toilet paper. Something has to be done about the naira and productivity. “I have seen people, especially, in the North agitating because the naira is getting worse, food prices are high, no employment, and those who get it are not paid. Something has to be done about it.”