Northern leaders on Saturday in Kaduna said that the region was not afraid of the National Conference, but that it would be an avenue to galvanize people to articulate their positions for future national development.
Governor of Niger state and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, Dr. Mu’azu Bababgida Aliyu, who spoke at the official commissioning ceremony of Liberty Radio 91.7FM station, Kaduna, appealed to all Northerners to participate fully in the dialogue.
He added that the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation was organising a committee on behalf of Northern Governors to look at some of the issues that may come up for discussion at the conference.
However, civil rights activist, Malam Shehu Sani said on the occasion that the National dialogue was a waste of time and a clear diversion from the nation’s problems.
According to him, the report of the dialogue would be submitted to the President next year when he would be on a campaign trip, while the National Assembly members would also be out looking for votes.
Governor Aliyu, who was chairman of the occasion, said he expected each state to set up similar committees so that they could adopt some positions that may guide their delegates.
He commended the new radio station for strengthening democracy and ensuring good governance, saying that Nigeria would be a better place if all media organisations in the country eschew ethno-regional sentiments to work towards having a united and indivisible nation progressively positioned to develop and remain economically buoyant.
Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhjaji Aliko Mohammed, also said at the occasion that they welcome the national dialogue and were only opposed to Sovereign National Conference because it would not be necessary when Nigerians had elected representatives in the National Assembly.
He, however, said those who would represent the North at the national dialogue must be knowledgeable.
Senator Ahmed Mohammed Makarfi charged the committee set up to organise the national dialogue to come up with an articulate agenda that would make the National Dialogue worthwhile, and not end up as a talk show.
Alhaji Sani Zahradeen of the Presidency called on the North to embrace, rather than shy away from the national dialogue, saying nobody will break up Nigeria as the country would continue to be an indivisible entity.