The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has said that the recent appointments of President Bola Tinubu appear to be lopsided, neglecting the north which they said gave him support despite criticisms during the primary and presidential election.
The CNG In an open letter to the President signed by its spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman drew his attention to the pervasive frustration, hunger, and anger being felt by many in the country just three months into your administration.
CNG said before the elections, the candidacy of President Tinubu faced a major obstacle in the form of resistance from some Northern politicians who feared that a Southern president would further marginalise their region.
The group said that governors, who were mostly from the North-West and North-East, persisted that a shift of power to the South-West would help to foster national unity, even as some Northern politicians accused them of betrayal and of putting their personal interests ahead of the larger Northern agenda.
CNG therefore, said some sections of the country are already raising concerns over perceived lopsidedness in your appointments to key positions in the government.
“Your Excellency may recall that in the lead-up to the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary elections, one of the key factors that paved the way for your emergence as the Presidential flag bearer of the party was the support of some Northern governors who insisted on a shift of power to specifically the South-West.
“At that time, Your Excellency’s candidacy faced a major obstacle in the form of resistance from some Northern politicians who feared that a Southern president would further marginalise their region.
“Yet these governors, who were mostly from the North-West and North-East, persisted that a shift of power to the South-West would help to foster national unity, even as some Northern politicians accused them of betrayal and of putting their personal interests ahead of the larger Northern agenda.
“And remember that you at the primaries, delegates from every section of the country voted for you in solidarity against the gang up of detractor elites.
“And in the build-up to the secondary election of February 2023, despite efforts by both the government in power at the time and your own party, the All Progressives Congress, to sabotage your success, the Nigerian people stood firm and gave you massive votes, with Northern Nigeria giving you more than 60% of the votes.
“The Nigerian masses at that time, demonstrated their belief in Your Excellency’s ability to lead. Their votes were a clear indication that they saw you as a viable candidate and believed in your vision for the country.
“It is, therefore, with a heavy heart that we bring to your attention the pervasive frustration, hunger, and anger being felt by many in the country just three months into your administration.
“Furthermore, some sections of the country are already raising concerns over perceived lopsidedness in your appointments to key positions in the government”, the statement said.
CNG advised that as a leader who ran on a platform of change and inclusivity, the President must address this pervasive feeling of frustration and anger.
It said there Is a need to urgently put in place policies and programmes that will bring relief and restore hope to the people.
“Your administration must be seen as one that listens to the voices of the people and acts accordingly”, CNG said.
“Additionally, we urge you to pay attention to the concerns raised over perceived lopsidedness in your appointments. Key positions must be held by qualified individuals regardless of their ethnic or religious background. The unity and progress of the country depend on fairness and equity in all areas, including governance”, the group added.
On education, CNG drew the attention of the President on high cost of school fees which has resulted in immense hardship for students and their families.
“Secondly, we wish to bring to your attention a crucial issue that affects millions of students in the country. Despite your recent directive for the status quo of school fees to be maintained in universities and tertiary institutions, most higher institutions have hiked their fees, causing immense hardship for students and their families.
“The current situation is alarming, as millions of students are unable to meet up with the exorbitant fees being charged by these institutions. As a result, many students are forced to drop out of school, abandoning their dreams of getting an education and fulfilling their potential.
“It is crucial that urgent action be taken to address this issue. Students are the future of our country, and they deserve access to quality education without undue financial burden.
“While we recognize the need for universities and tertiary institutions to generate revenue, it should not be at the expense of students’ education.
We, therefore, appeal to you to act to ensure that institutions comply with your directives to maintain the status quo of fees and take appropriate measures to penalize institutions that violate this directive.
“We also urge you to explore alternative ways of funding tertiary education to reduce the overreliance on tuition fees” CNG said.
The group also told the President that the palliatives he released to cushion the effects of fuel subsidy removal is grossly inadequate.
“We wish to respectfully draw your attention to the fact that the current palliatives approved to ease the pains of the removal of fuel subsidy are grossly inadequate. As a result, they are only adding to the public frustration and agitation by causing a resultant rise in market prices of commodities.
“While it is understandable that the government needs to take certain measures to address the economic challenges that the country is facing, it is important that these measures do not cause undue hardship on the citizens.
“The recent approval of palliatives to ease the burden of the removal of fuel subsidy, unfortunately, falls far short of what is required to truly make a difference. The impact of these palliatives is negligible, and they are not serving to alleviate the suffering of the citizens.
“We urge you to reconsider the current palliatives and work towards implementing measures that will truly make a difference in the lives of the citizens. It is imperative that the government takes steps to ease the financial burden on the citizens and ensure that they are not left to suffer due to the removal of fuel subsidy.
“Your Excellency’s antecedents clearly show you are a thoroughbred democrat with deep concern for the nation and the people, which gives us the confidence that you would heed good advice made with bona fide intentions”, the statement added.