The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has written to President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, demanding a review of some offensive policies that have led to the mass suffering of citizens.
In the letter signed by the spokesperson of CNG, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the group calls for an urgent review of lopsided appointments to public offices, high tuition fees for universities and other tertiary institutions, and the inadequacy of palliatives meant to cushion the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy.
The CNG letter highlights the widespread anger and frustration felt by citizens across the country in response to these policies that have caused hunger and led to the mounting anger of the people.
It demands that Tinubu takes prompt action to address these critical issues and participate in finding a permanent solution to them to improve the standard of living, reduce poverty and the hardship being faced by Nigerians.
CNG in the letter reminded Tinubu that in the lead-up to the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary elections, one of the key factors that paved the way for his 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 marginalize 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 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, Suleiman reminded Tinubu.
“It is on the basis of these,” Suleiman said, “that CNG took the bold but necessary decision to call the attention of the President to 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.
“As a leader who ran on a platform of change and inclusivity, it is crucial that this pervasive feeling of frustration and anger is addressed. There is a need to urgently put in place policies and programmes that will bring relief and restore hope in the people. Your administration must be seen as one that listens to the voices of the people and acts accordingly.
“Additionally, we urge you to pay attention to the concerns raised over perceived lopsidedness in your appointments. It is important that key positions are 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,” Suleiman said.
Another crucial issue that is affecting millions of students in the country, CNG said, is that despite a recent presidential 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.
According to the Coalition, the 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,” Suleiman said in the letter.
The CNG then drew the President’s 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,” the Group said.