El-Rufai, Ganduje, Yari back Sanusi’s comments on North’s grinding poverty
• Govs list regional integration, agriculture as solution
Three northern governors: Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State; Abdullahi Ganduje, Kano State; and Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State have agreed with the observation of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi that region is as backward as Afghanistan.
According to Governor El-Rufai yesterday, “the Emir of Kano, His Royal Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi II, made certain observations about the state of northern Nigeria within the larger Nigeria context. It is true that within the larger Nigerian context, we have some common problems in this region.
“We have the largest number of out-of-school children, we have the largest number of girls not completing basic education, we have the lowest levels of women giving birth in hospitals and health clinics, we have the highest infant mortality rate, we have the highest maternity mortality and morbidity rate,” he said.
“For us, regional integration is inevitable. We face the security challenge of cattle rustling, kidnapping and rural banditry that afflicted in many states in the north-west, and we realised very early along with my colleagues that unless we came together, all seven states, and we even brought in Niger State, which is not in the North-West, unless we collaborated together, we will not be able to address these issues holistically because if we attack the bandit in one state, they will just cross over to another state.”
Governor Ganduje stressed the need for the seven states of the north west to identify the economic advantages they can use to move the region forward and tackle their common social problems.
“The potential of the north west is very obvious. The north west has the highest water density in the whole of West Africa, such that we can feed the sub region. This is something that needs to be tapped,” Ganduje added.
Governor Yari said the zone has advantage than any other zone in the country when it comes to agriculture. “We have the land, we have the people, we are the most populous zone, and so we have to take advantage of that. When you talk about education, in the north, we are backward but we have comparative advantage from one state to the other. I have seen one index that shows that about 65 per cent of our people are living in poverty. As long as we fail to fix education, getting those children out of school back to school and put the necessary infrastructure in place, we will still be behind.”