The Northern Leaders, in a communiqué at the end of the meeting, said the proposed census should not hold because of many displaced persons and proximity of the census to the 2023 general elections.
They also said: “Northerners have equal rights to aspire to all offices but they must raise competence, evidence of personal integrity and commitments to the rule of law above all other considerations.”.
The communiqué read by the chairman of the Chairman Communique Committee and former Vice Chancellor of Plateau State University, Prof. Doknan Decent Danjuma Shenni said: “The meeting advises the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governors and Legislators to revisit and re-prioritize spending on security and addressing the scourge of poverty. We recommend the increase in recruitment of security personnel.
“The fundamental rights of all political parties to field candidates of their choices, and the rightth voters to freely exercise choices over who leads them cannot be compromised. Northerners have equal rights to aspire to all offices but they must raise competence, evidence of personal integrity and commitments to the rule of law above all other considerations.
“Northerners should ignore provocative statements from groups in the South of Nigeria who appear to believe that Command Democracy in which threats and hate campaigns are their hallmark or defining elements will work in Nigeria. North should vote for the best Leader.
“The Meeting notes the desperate condition of economic existence of most Northerners, poses additional threats to security and the democratic process. It recommends that leaders should avoid pushing the population into deeper poverty and desperation with challenging economic policies and lack of empathy. Government at all levels should consider a form of structured welfare system to alleviate poverty in the populace.
“The meeting advises the federal Government to postpone the planned 2022 National Census in view of the large numbers of displaced Nigerians and the proximity of the census to the 2023 elections.
“The meeting urges the National and States Assemblies to prioritize constitutional amendments currently being processed. It further urges President Muhammadu Buhari to accent to the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, as this will improve the quality of elections, starting from 2023.
“The meeting urges key Northern Groups to engage groups from the South to improve understanding, lower tensions and contribute to the creation of an atmosphere that allows all Nigerian to live in peace with each other.
“The meeting recognises our ethno-religious diversity in the North which is a source of strength that should be celebrated. The meeting further observed that all faiths teach us to imbibe the spirit of tolerance and not hate or attack those who worship in a different way.
” Our religious differences should be an invaluable asset not a liability or a potent weapon in the hands of our desperate and failed leaders.
“The meeting advises Northern Groups to visit and engage President Muhammadu Buhari to discuss with him on ways in which the security and economic condition of Northerners can be improved.
“The meeting recognised that education in the region has never been more imperiled than now. Insecurity has exponentially increased the number of out of school children.
“School abductions closures and excruciating poverty have set back education in the region many generations. The meeting calls on the state and Federal Governments to protect all our schools and rescue all our children in the hand of bandits and insurgents,” they said.