Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, has said that Middle Belt ethnic minorities should no longer be regarded as second-class citizens in the North.
Mailafia said this while presenting a paper entitled: “Harnessing Your Economic Potential Toward Self-Reliance,” during the Youth Summit of Southern Kaduna Peoples’ Forum, SOKAPU, in Kafanchan.
He said the era of core northerners scheming the Middle Belt people out in the sharing of the ‘national cake’ was over. Malaifia, who is the Chief of Staff, African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States, Brussels, Belgium, also rejected a few constituencies allocated to Southern Kaduna, stressing that it would no longer be acceptable by the people of the zone.
The former CBN deputy governor noted that President Goodluck Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda had witnessed improvement in infrastructure and electricity supply among other sectors. He said: “One thing, though, must be made clear. We are not second class citizens in what many still regard as ‘Northern Nigeria’.
We are not ‘minorities’. When you join all the peoples of the Middle Belt together we are, in fact, the majority. “We will not accept a situation which says: ‘We are all northerners,’ but when it comes to the sharing of the national cake, there are northerners and there are minorities. “If they fooled our fathers, they cannot fool us. We will never accept a second- class status – not now and not at any time in the future. “Today, our people are part of Kaduna State.
The 2006 census puts the population of Kaduna State at over six million, of which more than half are in what is popularly known as Southern Kaduna.
Unfortunately, the demarcation of the political constituencies during the military era short-changed our people by giving us fewer constituencies than the rest of the state. Such gratuitous anomaly is both unjust and unacceptable.”