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NORTHERN YOUTHS RALLY FOR SARAKI, RIBADU IN KADUNA

By NBF News

Kaduna, the north's political nerve centre was unusually busy last Thursday. Several groups, including known and unknown ones besieged the city to engage in one political activity or the other, not the even the heavy down pour in the early hours of that day, which lasted for about three hours, could deter the dramatis persona from carrying out their functions.

Within the precinct of the famous Arewa House, Kaduna, alone, two unrelated political activities- youths declaring for Saraki and youths declaring for 'Mairago,' a senatorial aspirant in Kaduna State, went on simultaneously, even as one of the NGOs in Kaduna, CITAR-NGO, also busied itself trying to enlighten the youths on the need not to allow themselves be used as political thugs by desperate politicians during the 2011 polls.

But for the Kaduna Police Commissioner, Tambari Yabo Mohammed, who saved the day for the CITAR-NGO, its programme would have ended a disaster, as all those slated to speak on the occasion, including the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, failed to show up. While the event, organized by the Coalition of Northern Youth Summit under the umbrella of CITAR-NGO, was going on inside one of the halls, in Arewa House, some youths were busy outside the hall, praising the decision of Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State, to join the presidential race.

Incidentally, while that was going on, inside the hall, the Executive Secretary of the CITAR-NGO, Mohammed Alhaji Yakubu, called on the younger generations in the north to take a shot at the presidential race, come 2011. In his speech on the occasion, to welcome participants to the one-day summit, Yakubu said, 'the old brigade should just play a fatherly role, and allow the young ones to run,' saying that it was against this background that the youths welcomed the entrance of Dr. Bukola Saraki into the presidential race.

Yakubu however, warned the Nigerian youths to stay clear of thuggery and as well shun greedy politicians who, he argued would only use them to amass what he described as, 'stupendous wealth, with the hope of showing off,' adding that 'we are happy that the youths who are our main target for this event, showed up en mass.' On his part, the State police commissioner, Mohammed, seized the occasion to disclose how a plan by the militant Islamic sect, popularly known as 'Boko Haram' to strike in Kaduna was averted by the Kaduna Police Command.

According to him, members of the militant group were said to have gathered at a hide-out in Rigasa area of Kaduna metropolis and mapped out the Rigasa Police station for destruction and had planed to strike on the day of the just concluded Sallah celebration.

Delivering his paper titled, 'The Role of Police in 2011,' Muhammad said he was resting in his house on Sallah day when two young men in their early 20's volunteered the information to him on the planned strike of the Boko Haram group. He further said he quickly beefed up the security in the area and the entire Kaduna State, stressing that the role of youths in security of lives and property could not be overemphasized.

Although he denied the arrest of any member of the group, the police boss however disclosed that half of Rigasa populations are from the neighbouring Niger Republic, who came into the country 'freely because of the ECOWAS free movement' being enjoyed by its members.

He therefore cautioned INEC to ensure that it differentiates between Nigerian voters and foreigners in 2011 general elections.

'I was resting in my house on Sallah day, only me and my God when two young men came to my house and said, 'CP, if we don't give you this information, Allah will judge us.'

'These two men are between 24 -25 years of age, they said some Boko Haram group have planned to burn down the Rigasa Police station on Sallah day, and this is where they are hiding. 'I thanked them for the information, and immediately, I beefed up the security, and my men combed Rigasa, Hayan Damani and other adjourning areas to see where they were hiding. But so far we have not made any arrest yet.

'As the Commissioner of Police, I rely on the youth for peaceful coexistence in the State and the country in general. They should not allow themselves to be misused by greedy politicians.'

Regarding the role of the police in 2011 general elections, the Police Commissioner said, 'adequate measures are being put in place by the Police High Command, including periodic training and capacity building of the officers and men to ensure that the forthcoming 2011 general elections are hitch free in the country. 'I urge all politicians and members of the electorate to join hands with the Nigeria Police to ensure that we have a credible election that will be accepted by all Nigerians and the international communities.'

In a message sent to the occasion by the Kaduna State Governor, Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa through his commissioner for Non Governmental Organization (NGO), Tsahiru Bako, the governor noted that, 'to achieve a violent -free society, there must be a resolve from within each individual's heart to live at peace with one another irrespective of religions, tribal or any other differences,' adding that I am glad that it is the youth that are taking up this challenge to organize this summit on violent-free poll in 2011.'

In a related development, the Arewa Christian Forum, also last Thursday, endorsed the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu for the 2011 presidential elections, asking him to formally declare his intention to run.

According to the Coordinator of the group, Pastor Caleb Ambi, he said the group decided to support the former EFCC boss purely on national interest and his competence ability.

He further said that the group believes that Ribadu's acceptability cuts across religious and primordial sentiments, and that he has impacted positively in promoting the good image of Nigeria in recent times, adding that his presidency would be the best thing to happen to Nigeria.

He noted that the Forum had gone far in the mobilization of Nigerians to believe in the Nuhu Ribadu Project for the 2011 elections, saying 'we are pleased with the responses being received from Nigerians across the country.

'Nigerians have lost faith in leadership of the country after 50 years of independence. Almost every sectors of Nigeria is deliberately dwarfed. The health and education sectors remained static and it is a shame that Nigerians in drove seek medical attention and education in other countries like USA, UK, Germany, Egypt, Ghana and even India. Nigeria's insecurity is scary as fear of assassins or armed robbery is now the order of the day in Nigeria.

'As Nigerians, we have heard enough of promises. However, as we march towards 50 years of independence as a nation, we have nothing to show for it. Instead, a bunch of lies is being dished to the gullible Nigerians and this has been on the increase while the chances of regaining our pride of place in the comity of nations now hinged on the 2011 elections. 'It is based on the foregoing that the Arewa Christian Forum, hereby formally declare support for the realization of Mallam Nuhu Ahmed Ribadu's presidential bid. Everything can be taken away from this Nigerian but not the courage, integrity, reputation and the big heart that constitute Nuhu Ribadu and his passion for Nigeria's development like he exhibited at EFCC.

'Our support for Ribadu is purely for the sake of national development and national interest. It is equally on the grounds of competence, merit and capability. He is one man whose acceptability cuts across religious and primordial sentiments. Ribadu has established a positive name for Nigeria and the fact that we are trusting him with our presidency is an indication that he is the best thing that will happen to Nigeria as we strive to bring our country back on track.'