Nigeria has two countries; South developing, North similar to Afghanistan - El-Rufai/

The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai at the weekend observed that Nigeria consists of two countries: the healthy and developing South and a backward, less educated and unhealthy North similar to Afghanistan in terms development

Speaking during the Northern Youth Summit organised by Northern Hibiscus Initiative, in Kaduna, he dismissed the notion that Northern Nigeria is a parasite of the Nigerian economy.

The theme of the summit was ‘Awakening the Arewa Spirit’.

According to El-Rufai, “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,” he said.

While dismissing the notion of North being parasitic to the South, El-Rufai said “that is not entirely true 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.

"So, we still have a lot to be proud of. We should be proud of our culture and tradition, as well as unity. You hardly can find someone from northern Nigeria convicted of 419 or being a Yahoo boy. That is something we should be proud of.

"We are generally considered to be more honest and less corrupt than other Nigerians. 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.”

While urging the 19 northern state governors to work together to tackle the challenges of the North, he also called on the youth to be proud of their culture, tradition, and demographics, which gives the region a very powerful tool to negotiate in politics.



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