Former chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega, says Northern Nigeria is the headquarters of poverty, insecurity and host of other problems in the country because leaders from the region are selfish and lack vision for development.
“The major indices of these crises manifested themselves from the northern part of this country, whether it is poverty, youth unemployment, security challenges, maternal mortality, out-of-school children, lack of girl-child education and early marriage as well as the challenge of reproduction of our females,” Mr Jega said.
“Anything you can think of, the terrible statistics come from the northern part of this country. And why is it so? That is the key question.”
Mr Jega made this statement on Monday at a lecture in honour of the late northern icon, Maitama Sule. The event was organised by the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) and was held at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, Katsina.
While eulogising both late Mataima Sule; a diplomat and politician, and Premier of Northern Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello, for their selfless leadership, Mr Jega berated other leaders in the region as selfish and visionless.
“Today, we remember the Maitama Sule, the Ahmadu Bellos, Isa Katais and many others. These were people who led and protected the North and ensured that the North developed in accordance with its ability and their own abilities as leaders. While we cherish the memories of what had happened in the past, what kind of leadership have we got from the Northern part of this country?” Mr Jega said.
“We have so-called leaders who are selfish, who are not selfless, greedy, who have a narrow vision in terms of how this country can develop, not to talk about the region where they come from. They really lack intellectual capacity to be classified as leaders.”
President Muhammadu Buhari, former military dictators, Sani Abacha, Murtala Mohammed, Ibrahim Babangida, Yakubu Gowon, and even many contemporary northern leaders have in the past been criticised for not doing much to emancipate the vast population of poor and illiterate masses of the North.