The Chairman of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Ibrahim Ahmadu Coomassie, said on Monday Nigeria is heading towards anarchy and eventual disintegration if the problem of bad governance is not addressed.
He lamented that corrupt practices have become endemic and nepotism now a common feature in most appointments and provision of quality education, potable water, efficient health services and power supply have been relegated to the background.
The ACF chairman stated these in Kaduna while chairing a conference on: “The North and The Challenge ofLeadership,” organised by Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundationand Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP).
He said the conference which is was organised to commemorate 52years anniversary of the senseless massacre of the northern political leaders like Ahmadu Bello and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa in an ethnically motivated coup, must be used to seek for way out of the country “political mess.”
He said the era of Ahmadu Bello and Balewa was a golden period forNigeria and the Northern region because they laid foundation and charted the course of the most unprecedented, purposeful and progressive development ever witnessed in the north.Coomassie said:
“Northern progress and Northern unity were uttermost in their thought processes while administering this large expanse of territory which was more than half of Nigeria. Theyensured even development, justice and fair play for all the citizens. It was a period devoid of religious and ethnic bigotry where people from the numerous ethnic nationalities or creeds, held each other in mutual respect.
“Corrupt practices by both politicians were very minimal. Things like inflation of contracts or favouritism in the award of contracts were virtually non-existent.
In short, the Northern Nigeria before January 15th 1966 was a territory that was characterised by visionary leadership and tireless dedication to duty to the community. Leaders were known for their integrity, sincerity and their humility.”
While noting that the defunct Northern Region has been broken down to 19 northern states administered by governors and members of the state assemblies for the purpose of bringing governance closer to the people, Coomassie said the reverse has been the case.He added: “Political office holders pay scant attention to the needs of their populace.
Corrupt practices have become endemic. Not only arecontract sums inflated, more often than not monies earmarked for projects that will immensely benefitthe populace are removed and the projects not executed.
“Nepotism has become commonplace in most appointments. People who lack the requisite qualification are appointedto sensitive positions in the public sector either because they are related to or are cronies to powerfulpolitical figures with resultants devastating consequences to the polity.
Service sectors, such as in the provision of quality education atall levels, the provision of potable water, the delivery of efficient health services and power supply have all been relegated to the background.
“State governors today are busy building billion naira airports, government houses and other whiteelephant projects while their peoplelive in wanton poverty and squalor. Youths go through education sectorand graduate with no jobs available or means to start something on their own.
This deplorable situation has made them vulnerable as tools of the political class to use to foment political violence or foot soldiers of ethnic or religious bigotsand extremists to destroy the peaceand serenity the north has been known for.”