An All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to see individuals making fair comments on the current economy hardship in the country as partners in progress.
Baba-Ahmed, who was among the key speakers at the two-day Annual Pan-Northern Groups Summit that ended in Kaduna on Tuesday, said such individuals were among those that voted for him during the 2015 poll.
“Most of them are people who voted for him, because they shared his belief that we can live secured lives; that leaders do not have to steal our resources and that our children can live in, and work in a nation they can be proud of,” he said.
According to him, northerners often bear the brunt of bad or poor governance more than other Nigerians owing to inept and corrupt leadership.
“When the economy deteriorates, we feel the pain more sharply than other Nigerians. With security, we can feed ourselves and feed the rest of Nigeria. But when the cost of inputs become prohibitive, threats to lives limit productive capacities, herds are stolen or limited by hostile and damaging political interests, the economy of the North suffers.
“We ask that our current limitations are understood by leaders and policy makers, so that our current disadvantages are not compounded by poorly-designed policies.
“Our people are hardworking and we have no desire to depend on any section of the country beyond what is made necessary by the logic of an inter-dependent economy,” he stated.
Baba-Ahmed, who is also a member of the Northern Elders Forum, called northern governors to execute sound policies and reduce frequent trips around the world.
He said funds they spent on such trips could be channelled into settling accumulating salaries and meeting other immediate needs of the people.
He chided the governors for engaging in frequent foreign tourism, saying: “we expect our governors to be in the frontline of the search for credible policies. There are excellent blueprints and suggestions on improving the Northern economy which they can utilize.
“Please, reduce your travels around the world. Real investors will come to you. Spend the money you spend on travels in paying salaries and pensions and expanding employment opportunities for young northerners. Out of the adversity that makes it difficult for you to pay salaries, you must discover opportunities. You asked our people in 2015 to trust you. They did. Now you should trust them.
“You should trust them to elect those they want to lead Local Government Councils, the same way you were elected. If you do not move beyond lamentations, the people will tally up the days you spend outside the country or in Abuja, or how many months they went without salaries and pensions, and how many young people graduated into crimes and drugs during your tenure,” he said.