Northern, Southern Elders Meet Over State Of The Nation
A technical committee set up by the Northern Elders forum and their counterparts from the Southern part of the country met at the weekend to discuss modalities of addressing some challenges confronting the nation. At the closed-door meeting that lasted for about three and half hours, the Northern and Southern elders agreed to establish Nigerian Elders Forum (NEF). When established, the forum is expected to be meeting frequently to study the Nigerian situation, provide solutions and make sure that the decisions they take impact positively on the lives of the people. Addressing journalists after the meeting in Abuja, Prof Banji Akintoye, said the country’s elders are worried “that things are not well with our country,” adding that a lot is happening that ordinarily should not happen. Present at the meeting were Dr Yime Sen, Yinka Odumakin, Dr Afred Mulade, Senator Kofo Bucknor-Akerele, Senator Chris Anyanwu, Francis Doukpola, Dr Chike Dike, Engr Bello Suleiman, Sen Ibrahim Lame and Ambassador Bala Sani. Others are Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, Sheik Idris Hayatudeen, Senator Saidu Dansadau, Alhaji Falalu Bello, Dr Doyin Okupe, Yerima Shettima, Dr Charles Nwekeaku, G G Darah, Barr Abdullahi Usman Toro, Prof Rahila P Gowon and Abdulrazaq Adamu, among others. Akintoye noted that there are big problems of governance and the economy, which needed urgent attention of the elders. He said, “We are elders; we are not active politicians. Most of us are not active politicians. We have come together because we are worried about the condition of our country. Things are not well with our country. A lot of things are happening in our country that ordinarily should not happen. “Ours is a land of promise, a land well-endowed by nature with a lot of wealth but we are not using the wealth to enrich our people. Instead, we are going down, down and down in terms of prosperity and progress. “So, we have decided to work together. That is the most important thing because the problems are many. There is a general problem like the problems of ecology. The desert is moving South upon us, upon our country and we are not doing anything about it. The ocean is moving in from the South, parts of Lagos are already under sea level and we are not doing anything about it. “Parts of the South-south too are already under the sea and we are not doing anything about it, and in the East, there is serious strange problem of gully erosion. Nobody seems to know what to do about it. On the economy, he said, “And then economy itself, we have become a country that is no longer productive because lack of productivity is the big problem now of our country, and we have to do something about it. We also have this huge problem of poor governance. It is no longer a question of a party, it is no longer a question of one party is doing better than the other. You can see now clearly, even though our political parties are rarely no longer political parties. “They are just neighbours or combination of people who want to gather together and win elections and control the wealth of the country, which has come to me, as making yourself rich. That is what it has become, and the quality of leadership has fallen so drastically that it is not possible to have any progress in the hands of such poor leadership. “Now we have reached a point where we are actually killing one another- people going around killing their countrymen and destroying their livelihoods. So, we cannot go on like this. We, elders of the country, have decided that we cannot go on like this. We must change actions to change these things”. On the resolutions of the closed-door meeting, Akintoye said the height of the decisions taken was that the elders resolved to set up a Nigerian Elders Forum. “The Nigerian Elders Forum will establish its own means of meeting and study situation and provide solutions and make sure that the decisions have impact on the lives of our country. Those are the things we have decided today”, he noted. PMB, Osinbajo Meet nPDP Over APC Crisis Today Meanwhile, in continuation of ongoing dialogue aimed at pacifying aggrieved members of the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) bloc within the APC, another meeting between the group and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is billed to hold today. Members of the power bloc within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) drafted to attend the meeting are expected to also meet President Muhammadu Buhari later in the day to intimate him on the outcome of their meeting. The nPDP group led by a former Acting chairman of PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, had last week met with the national leadership of the APC to discuss and possibly resolve their differences. Baraje confirmed the planned separate meetings with the vice president and the president to journalists in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, yesterday. The APC chieftain commended members of his group and concerned Nigerians who share their views and concerns about the plight of the nPDP members in APC. Baraje expressed optimism that at the end of today’s meeting with Osinbajo and Buhari, the ruling party will come out stronger and become more united in the general interest of the citizenry. He said the next line of action of his group would be determined by the outcome of today’s meeting.