Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Saturday, while speaking at the Northern Youth Summit in Kaduna, said that Northern Nigeria is backward in development.
According to him, there are two countries in Nigeria, the backward less educated and unhealthy North and the developing South.
“Nigeria consists of two countries; there is a backward, less educated and unhealthy northern Nigeria, and a developing, largely educated and healthy southern Nigeria,” Governor El-Rufai said in his speech at the ‘Awakening the Arewa Spirit’ event organised by Northern Hibiscus Initiative.
He further noted that the development in northern Nigeria is similar to that of Afghanistan, a country ravaged by war.
“We have to speak the truth to ourselves and ask why is it that northern Nigeria has development indicators similar to Afghanistan, a country still at war?
“We have the largest number of poor people in the world, most of them in northern Nigeria. Nigeria also has the largest number of out of school children, virtually all of them in Northern Nigeria.
“Northern Nigeria has become the centre of drug abuse, gender violence, banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism. We have also been associated with a high divorce rate and breakdown of families. This is the naked truth that we have to tell ourselves,” Mr El-Rufai said.
Despite the challenges facing the north, El-Rufai however vehemently denied that Northern Nigeria was the reason for Nigeria’s poor economy.
He noted that the north feeds the entire nation, adding that the richest man in Nigeria is still someone from the northern part of Nigeria.
According to him, it “is not entirely true because northern Nigeria still feeds the nation. The richest businessman in Nigeria is still Aliko Dangote, not someone from Southern Nigeria, thank God for that.”
He called on his colleagues in the 19 northern states to work together to tackle the problem facing the north.
Speaking further, Governor El-Rufai alleged that despite the negative things being said about the north, northerners are generally considered to be more honest and less corrupt when compared to people from the south.
“You hardly can find someone from northern Nigeria convicted of 419 or being a Yahoo boy. That is something we should be proud of,” he said.
“In addition, our demographic superiority gives us a very powerful tool to negotiate in politics. And that is something we should be proud of and we should preserve. So, we have every reason to unite and not be divided,” he noted, urging northern youths to be proud of their culture, tradition and demographics.
He called on the youths in the north who currently account for about 80% of the population in the north to stand up and confront the challenge as future leaders.
“I, therefore, call on you the youth, you account for 80 per cent of the northern population and the future of this region lies in your hands; not in the hands of dinosaurs like me.
“I’m 59 and among the oldest five per cent of the northern population. I shouldn’t even be governor; I should have been governor 10 years ago. But ‘na condition make crayfish bend’, so we are here.”
David Chima is the Group Head (Editors) at Naija Buzz News. He is a very experienced Journalist. He studied Mass Communication at the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic Zaria, Kaduna State, before proceeding for Advanced Studies in Mass Communication (Journalism) at the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, Bauchi State. He previously served as the Head Senior Reporters and Publishers at 1Push.Ng and eventually Naija Buzz News. Chima is a lover of football and a very strong supporter of Barcelona Football Club Spain.