A committee set up by the Northern Governors Forum (NGF) and the Northern Traditional Rulers Council to aggregate the views of northerners on restructuring, held its inaugural meeting in Kaduna today.
Present at the meeting were the Governor of Nasarawa, Umar Tanko Al-Makura, his Kaduna State counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai, Deputy Governors of Gombe and Plateau States, Charles Iliya and Soni Tyoden respectively.
Also in attendance were the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, Etsu Nupe Yahaya Abubakar; Gbong Gwom Jos, Da Jacob Buba Gyang; Emir of Fika, Muhammadu Abali and Emir of Gummi, retired Justice Lawal Gum.
Here are five take-aways from the meeting:
1. Public hearings loading
According to Sokoto State Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal who is Chairman of the committee, there will be public hearings in the 19 states of the region to allow people contribute to the raging restructuring debate.
Tambuwal also said members have agreed to hold extensive consultations with stakeholders and leaders of thought in member states with a view to coming up with acceptable positions that will reflect the views of the entire northern region on the subject.
2. The North isn’t scared of restructuring
Contrary to allegations in certain quarters, the northern leaders who attended this meeting say they are in no way opposed to restructuring Nigeria.
“We have reaffirmed our commitment to ensuring Nigeria remains a strong, united country. We have also decided to present the case of the north as a single entity desirous of a prosperous country”, Tambuwal said.
"Today's meeting agreed on the need to hold town hall meetings in all the 19 states to hear the views of our people on the restructuring debate currently going on in the country”, he added.
3. No area will be off limits
According to Tambuwal, there’ll be no off limit areas during the debates on restructuring in northern Nigeria.
Everything from fiscal federalism to State policing, will be left on the table.
"We are not limiting the area of discussion because it is better to put all questions on the table and have it discussed”, Tambuwal said.
“We will discuss federalism, fiscal federalism, State police, revenue structure and any other issue of interest”.
4. The north will look at previous documents on the subject
"We have also decided to analyse previous documents and position papers that proffered viable options to northern development”, Tambuwal said.
“A technical committee will study these documents, talk to the authors and present the report to us at our next meeting on October 24 here in Kaduna”.
5. North won’t allow constitution amendment opportunity go to waste
As the national assembly carries on with its constitution amendment process, the north will see how its interests could be injected into a new constition.
According to Tambuwal: "We will key into the opportunity provided by the ongoing amendment of the 1999 constitution by the national assembly to see how our position can be reflected in the larger scheme of things”.
It will be recalled that the governing APC at the center recently set up a committee to look at the restructuring subject, following intense public commentary from a cross section of Nigerians.