Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, has said that Northern Nigeria region is backward, uneducated and unhealthy.
El-Rufai stated this during the Northern Youth Summit organized by Northern Hibiscus Initiative in Kaduna over the weekend.
The governor, however, stressed that the north feeding the nation, producing its richest citizen, the northerners less involved in fraud and being more honest and the north is the most populous region.
He said: “Looking at the statistics, Nigeria appears to be a middle income country, but if we segregate those statistics across states and zones, you will see that in terms human development indicators, Nigeria consist of two countries; there is a backward, less educated and unhealthy Northern Nigeria and a developing, largely educated and healthy southern Nigeria.
“The theme of this summit, ‘Awakening the Arewa Spirit’ is very timely. When we talk about awakening the spirit, it means the spirit is either sleeping or dead.
“We have to speak the truth to ourselves and ask why is it that, northern Nigeria has development indicators similar to Afghanistan, a country still at war.
“Nigeria has the largest number of poor people in the world, most of them in northern Nigeria.
“Nigeria also has the largest number of out of school children, virtually all of them in Northern Nigeria.
“Northern Nigeria has become the centre of drug abuse, gender violence, banditry, kidnapping and terrorism.
“We have also been associated with a high divorce rate and breakdown of families.
“These are the challenges that confront us. This is the naked truth that we have to tell ourselves.
“We must therefore as leaders at all levels have a conversation about the way forward for our part of the country.
“Because increasingly, as many of you must have seen on social media, we are being considered as the parasite of the federal economy, even though, that is not entirely true.
“This is because Northern Nigeria still feeds the nation. The richest businessman in Nigeria is still Aliko Dangote not someone from Southern Nigeria, thank God for that.”
He also quickly added the positives, some that may be controversial: the north feeding the nation, producing its richest citizen, the northerners less involved in fraud and being more honest and the north is the most populous region.