• Zone hosts maiden stakeholders’ meeting, seeks more A-list appointments
  • ⁠River Niger dredging, Ajaokuta on agenda
  • President values NC, committed to national growth: SGF
  • Region expresses concerns over treatment of Plateau APC lawmakers
  • Commends President Tinubu’s deft handing of national issues, reforms

Governors and leadership of the ruling APC in the North Central on Saturday held a high-powered zonal meeting during which issues affecting the growth of the party and developmental priorities of the region were discussed.

The meeting specifically commended President Bola Tinubu for his impressive handling of national issues, including the reforms which the meeting observed would enhance sustainable development.

Held in Lafia, the capital city of Nasarawa State, the leaders drummed support for the establishment of the North Central Development Commission (NCDC) to tackle issues affecting the region, particularly huge infrastructural deficits, banditry and other violent crimes which they said are a big drawback on subsistence and large scale farming, and the perennial flooding which continues to haunt the region.

The leaders also called for the dredging of the River Niger, resuscitation of the Ajaokuta Steel Mill in Lokoja, respect for the rights of the APC lawmakers in Plateau under the law, and more A-list appointments for party loyalists from the region.

The meeting was well-attended by creme de la creme from the region, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Senator George Akume; Governors AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara); Engr. Sule Abdullahi Nasarawa); Ahmed Usman Ododo (Kogi); Hyacinth Alia (Benue).

Niger State Governor Mohammed Umar Bago was also represented at the event, which drew several Senators, House of Representatives members, Ministers, House of Assembly members, and senior party executives from across the region.

APC National Chairman Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, his predecessor Adamu Abdullahi, and National Secretary of the party Dr. Bashiru Ajibola were also at the event to give solidarity messages.

SGF commended the initiative to bring APC leaders together for a common agenda of growth, saying President Tinubu values the contributions of the party in the region and will do more to reward their loyalty.

He also said many infrastructural projects are in the pipeline for the region, saying the President is already addressing some lopsidedness observed in some recent appointments.

He said massive works will begin soon on some road projects, including Makurdi Enugu, Akwanga to Jos, Lokoja to South West, some road projects within Kwara axis, among others.

Abdulrazaq, who is the Nigeria Governors Forum Chairman and APC Coordinating Governor for North Central, said the meeting had been called to thank members and stakeholders for the support for the party, foster unity among stakeholders, and discuss issues of human and infrastructural development affecting the region, including backing a development commission for the region.

He called for continuous support for the President and the party, saying efforts are ongoing to get more appointments and big projects to the region.

“As leaders, we acknowledge the calls for improvement in the reward system within our party. We have raised this concern with the President, who is a democrat, and he is quite receptive to our suggestions for a measurable change in what comes to this region going forward,” he said.

Abdulrazaq said two main committees will arise from the meeting, including one on reconciliation and project and policy formulation — both geared towards uniting the party and further aligning government’s projects and policies with the aspirations of the people of the region.

He said leaders of the region are concerned about the treatment of APC lawmakers in Plateau — a concern shared by all the leaders at the event.

Governor Sule, the host, called for more unity and collaboration among leaders for the purpose of achieving collective goals of development, peace, and security in the region.

He commended the party leaders and other stakeholders for the impressive attendance of the meeting, which he said marks a new positive beginning for the party and the region.

Governor of Benue State said the elephant in the room for the North Central is insecurity, which requires unity and pooling of resources to address.

He lamented that the region is punching below its weight as the hub of food production and mineral resources owing to insecurity, adding his voice to earlier calls for the NCDC and other interventions that can help the region.

Governor Hyacinth said the region has not recovered from the flooding of 2022 that damaged crops and livestock, and displaced hundreds of thousands of people across the region.

Governor Ododo aligned himself with his colleagues, saying the region needs synergy to tackle the myriad issues affecting it.

“We need a safer North Central to have a better and safer Nigeria because this region is central to the country. While we are blessed with huge mineral resources and rich land, we have to make it work for the people. We need to work together as a region, and that is why this gathering is of great importance,” he said.

Ganduje said the meeting is one of the fruits of the ongoing reforms within the party, geared towards making APC “active all year round”.

He said the party has also established the Progressive Institute to train leaders and members on key democratic principles and drive progressive policies.

“Meetings like this also allow you to discuss issues that are peculiar to your region, after which recommendations are sent to different layers of the party,” he added.

Former Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Wase said the region needs to work together as the North Central lags behind on infrastructural projects, citing the abandonment of the road leading to Baro Port.

“We have been hit by many crisis and we definitely need the North Central Development Commission. Also, all the roads in the tax credits should be completed,” he said.

“We have a situation whereby our APC lawmakers in Plateau are being asked to sign their own resignation letters before they are sworn in. This is unacceptable. I thank the Governor of Kwara State, Governor of Nasarawa State and our party national chairman for their efforts. We also need and deserve more appointments in the region.”

Rafiu Ajakaye
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor (Kwara)
May 25, 2024