Tambuwal: North Wants Restructuring As Much As Anyone Else | The Precision

Opening Remarks by Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, CFR, Governor of
Sokoto State, at the Arewa Research and Development Project Conference
on The North and The Future of the Nigerian Federation, at Arewa House,
Kaduna on Tuesday 11th october, 2017.

       I would like to begin by thanking the Convener of this
Conference, my dear brother and long-time associate,  Dr. Usman Bugaje,
and his great team at the ARDP for organising this event and for giving
me the honour to chair the Opening Ceremony.
       Dr. Bugaje and I go back a long way and we have fought many
battles together, winning some and perhaps losing a few. As anyone close
to him knows, Bugaje is a patriot of the first order and his constant
striving for the progress of the North is very remarkable. Over the
years, his name has become a byword for intellectual rigour and personal
       I have no doubt therefore that participants at this conference
can expect a level of discourse that is rich in research, resolutely
progressive and devoid of any form of bigotry. I am sure that at the end
of the day, we shall all be better informed about the kind of
restructuring we need in Nigeria and the way the North can best benefit
from any such arrangement.
       Only recently, the Northern States Governors’ Forum  and
Northern Traditional Leaders Council Committee on Restructuring of the
Nigerian Federation which I chair inaugurated a technical committee
reflecting the amazing diversity of Northern Nigeria to look at the
issues surrounding the call for restructuring and get the aggregate
views of the North and present same to the committee for use during the
proposed Town Hall/Public Hearings across the 19 Northern States. 
We have ensured that the technical committee members are personalities
who have proven themselves in various fields, people with the
intellectual ability and experience to contrast, aggregate and analyse
the views of the North and how they impact on the growth and development
of this country.
      Therefore, the idea that the North is against restructuring
because it benefits most from the current state of things is
circumscribed and patently false. The fact that some people continue to
parrot such a lie only help to give credence to the flawed argument. Let
us be clear: the North wants restructuring as much as anyone else.
However, as a people we do not easily jump unto the bandwagon because we
are always there for the long haul. We believe that any decision we
take must be inclusive, and respect procedures and processes so that the
outcome is sustainable.
       I think we should first, as a country, agree on a mutual
definition of the term restructuring. In my view, if restructuring means
taking stock of our arrangement to ensure that no state takes a
disproportionate amount of the resources, or most of the available space
in the education or job sector, or subjugate the others’ culture or
religion, or lords it over the other so that the number of the poor and
uneducated whose future is circumscribed by their circumstance is shared
proportionately, then we are game.
       We all want a country where there is peace and progress, where
justice is a given, where all lives are safe and people can pursue their
legitimate livelihoods wherever they choose. I believe each state in
this country has areas of comparative advantage and life is a cycle so
that what was once the largest revenue earner can in time become less so
while something else takes ascendancy.
       As a country we must look to the future and agree on what in the
long run will benefit us all. I must give kudos to the organisers for
choosing such an appropriate theme for this conference, The North and
the future of the Nigerian federation.
     I am glad to see that the organisers have noted the critical role
that education must play in any part that the North eventually chooses
to take. The truth is that the modern world is one that puts premium on
human capital rather than natural resources. The development of that
capital therefore must take precedence over anything else we want to do
as a people.
     I want to assure participants that the outcome of this conference
will form a critical part of the aggregate views of Northern States on
restructuring and will be useful to our current effort at ensuring  that
we do a thorough job on behalf of our people.
     I therefore call on everyone who has any view on the matter or any
suggestion that will make this great country move forward and
strengthen our unity to come forward and express those views.
13.      Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, with your permission; I now declare this conference open for business.
May God guide us all.

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