2023: Why We Are Talking With Useni, Northern Elders, Gov Abdulrazak Reveals
By Centus Nweze
In what appears to be a rare insight into his political leanings, soft spoken but largely enigmatic Kwara State governor, Abdulrahaman Abdulrazak, has revealed that stakeholders in the North Central region are putting forward the fortunes of the region in the negotiation on which zone presents the presidency in 2023.
He made this disclosures recently during the advocacy visit of Kogi State Assembly delegates led by its speaker, Prince Matthew Kolawole, who came to campaign for support for Governor Yahaya Bello as president in 2023.
AbdulRazaq said the north central region, with its huge human and material resources, has never produced the President or Vice President since independence, urging the federal government to invest more in extractive infrastructure for the region and prioritise the dredging of the River Niger.
He said leaders within the region and across political divides are working together to change the political under-representation of the region at the centre.
His words: “We have had several meetings both at the North Central Governors’ Forum level and recently I hosted the North Central Peoples Forum headed by General J.T Useni (rtd) and what we discussed were about way forward for the North Central. The geopolitical zone is lagging behind in critical infrastructure and socio-economic development.
“River Niger, which we depend on for most of what we do, needs to be dredged. The annual flooding causes a lot of havoc. But if it is dredged and harnessed properly, it will open up new economic prospects for Kwara, Kogi, Niger and Benue States especially. Our agricultural productivity will lift up. The rivers are huge sources of irrigation for the communities that live on the banks. I am aware the Federal Ministry of Water Resources is doing something on that.
“On the outcome of the meeting of North Central Governors in Makurdi, we are going to focus strongly on the economies of the north central states, emphasising greatly on agriculture because of its huge prospects.
“When you listen to some news in Kogi, because the opposition is not on ground they move to social media and they will be claiming that the governor is not working. But when you now visit practically you will see the difference. I went to Okene and I was shocked with what I saw. This is contrary to the criticisms we see on social media. Governor Yahya Bello is doing very well both at the state and national levels, contributing to discourse at the zonal and national levels.
“At our meeting in Makurdi, we agreed that the zone had been left out in so many things under civilian administration. North central has not produced either president or vice president at all. If we are looking at the present geographical structure of the country based on zones and not just north and south, we believe in terms of political appointment and elective offices, we are being shortchanged (in the north central). We are confined to party chairmen and senate presidents only.”
Kogi State House of Assembly Speaker Prince Matthew Kolawole commended the Governor for his strides within the short period of his assumption of office, saying both states share many things in common.
“We are in Kwara State on advocacy visit. Kogi State House of Assembly took it upon ourselves without sponsorship from anybody that we want to support our own governor. We want to support him because of the existing relationship between us. We have perfect and robust relationship,” he said.
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