A new regional economic renewal movement, Arewa Economic Renewal Forum (AERF) has called on politicians to develop a blueprint for the development of the North and the nation.
The Chairman of AERF, Ibrahim Yahaya, made the call at the maiden press conference of the group in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to Yahaya, 2023 is the time for the North to restore its lost glory by throwing its weight behind any presidential, governorship and other candidates with viable economic blueprint for restoration of the region.
“Over the years, Nigeria, and especially the North, has suffered epileptic form of leadership, borne out of lacklustre attitude of elected persons to engineer the much-desired economic prosperity.
“The resultant consequence for our region is poverty, substandard education, lack of access to credit financing and other negative underdevelopment indicators,’” he said.
According to the chairman, the North accounts for 70 per cent of total arable landmass in Nigeria.
“It is geologically created in such an advantageous way that it can allow for 12 months of agriculture, yet only 23 per cent of the landmass is fully utilised for agricultural purposes.
“The inability of successive administration to exploit these resources in mainstreaming human development has remained our greatest albatross.
“Consequently, we have the worst human development index, with an estimated 87 million people living on 1.9 dollar a day,” he said.
He added that the region had also been shortchanged in terms of access to finance and credit for investment and development from the national financial system.
“Against this backdrop, we demand a strategic blueprint for rapid renewal and economic transformation of Northern Nigeria from all aspirants gunning for the nation’s top job.
“The plan must entail visible roadmap to reviving comatose Northern industries, harnessing virgin resources and utilisation of demographic advantages for the empowerment of our people,” he said. (NAN)