Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, likened Northern Nigeria to Afghanistan in development, as he compared the region to the south in his speech on Saturday at the Northern Youth Summit organised by Northern Hibiscus Initiative, in Kaduna.
”Nigeria consists of two countries; there is a backward, less educated and unhealthy northern Nigeria, and a developing, largely educated and healthy southern Nigeria. 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.
Speaking further on the theme of the summit ’Awakening the Arewa Spirit’, the Kaduna State Governor dismissed claims of Northern Nigeria being the parasite of the Nigerian economy. He also noted that in spite of the negative statistics, northerners are generally considered to be more honest and less corrupt than other Nigerians.
”Which is not entirely true”. he said, ”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.
”You hardly can find someone from northern Nigeria convicted of 419 or being a Yahoo boy. That is something we should be proud of,
”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.”