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Benue House of Assembly Speaker, Terkimbi Ikyange has described leadership of northern Nigeria as lacking “purposeful and focused leadership”.
New chairman of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Mr Paul Unongo

The Speaker of Benue State House of Assembly, Mr Terkimbi Ikyange has described leadership of northern Nigeria as lacking “purposeful and focused leadership”.

Mr Ikyange said this in reaction to emergence of Mr Paul Unongo as the chairman of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), on Thursday, in Abuja.

Speaking, Ikyange said: “The north is in dire of good leaders that will redirect its focus. We want you to provide good leadership that will chart a new path for it.”

He, therefore, tasked the newly elected chairman to chart a new and realistic course to move the north forward. 

The Speaker said that the emergence of Unongo as NEF leader was in recognition of the pivotal role Benue had played toward Nigeria’s unity and stabilisation while speaking to NAN on Sunday in Makurdi.

“Your emergence is divine and well deserved; you have committed your life to serve Nigeria and its people, so this recognition is a challenge for you to do more,” he said.

He said that Unongo had consistently worked with other elder statesmen in Benue and the north-central political zone to build a united and strong country everyone would be proud of, and particularly commended their commitment to one Nigeria as an indivisible entity.

The Speaker urged the new NEF leader to strive toward a united Nigeria that was devoid of sectionalism, ethnic and religious discrimination, hate speeches and marginalisation of any kind.

Mr Unongo replaced Ambassador Yusuf Maitama Sule, who died in Cairo last week, at 88.

At the meeting, the forum elected former Minister of Agriculture, Alhaji Zangon Daura as the Deputy Chairman.

Meanwhile, the former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Ango Abdullahi, retained his position as spokesman.

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