"The Patriots", a group of eminent persons from southern Nigeria led by Professor Ben Nwabueze, yesterday failed to convince leaders of the north that the way forward for the nation is a sovereign national conference (SNC) of ethnic nationalities. The SNC idea was roundly rejected by the northern leaders who averred that the problem of Nigeria was simply a failure of leadership.
At the meeting that took place at the Shehu Musa Yar'Adua Centre, Abuja, the northern leaders insisted that the problems of the ordinary people of the north were not different from those of the ordinary people of the south and could be properly addressed and solved by a purposeful leadership, not a conference of ethnic nationalities which objectives remained unclear.
Prof Nwabueze, who led four other members of "The Patriots" including Senator Felix Ibru and Ben Obi, had invited the northern leaders to a meeting to discuss matters of national interest but ended up presenting only one agendum: to convince the northern leaders to support the idea of a sovereign conference.
A source at the meeting said the northern leaders maintained that the purpose of a national conference remained unclear.
In the end, however, a committee headed by Malam Adamu Ciroma with Senator Ben Obi as secretary was constituted to look into the issues and to design a way forward for the nation.
Apart from Malam Adamu Ciroma, the northern leaders at the meeting included Alhaji Umaru Shinkafi, Professor Jibril Aminu, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, Mallam Abba Kyari, Hajiya Naja'atu Mohammed, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed and Alhaji Yerima Abdullahi.