Mohammed Aminu in Sokoto
A coalition under the auspices of Joint Northern Youth Forum, saturday condemned the disrespectful manner the Coalition of Northern Youth responded to an unconfirmed remark wrongly attributed to billionaire investor Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
Dangote was alleged to have described the ultimatum issued to Igbo to vacate the North by Arewa youths as reckless and a manifestation of frustration and joblessness.
This was contained in a statement signed by its Director of Media and Publicity, Ashiru Abdullahi and made available to THISDAY in Sokoto saturday.
The statement noted with dismay the use of abusive language against Dangote, by the so-called Coalition of Northern Youth Groups, as a response to an unconfirmed statement credited to the respected investor.
It expressed dismay that a group that professes to be promoting Northern interest would insult a prominent son of the North who provided the highest number of job opportunities in the history of the region.
According to the statement, it is indeed surprising why anyone should associate Dangote to anything politics.
â€œIt has never happened and anyone who knows Dangote would readily admit that he has been a hardworking investor for decades and not a politician. The Coalitionâ€™s bedtime story about Obasanjo asking Dangote to run for the nationâ€™s presidency is also laughable indeed.
â€œThe coalition claimed that Dangote â€œcan never beâ€ among genuine Northern patriots. This can never be true, given the hundreds of thousands of Northerners earning a livelihood through his vast array of investments in the North.
â€œAnd for whatever it is worth, Dangote deserves respect for rebuilding the lives of many young Northerners through his chain of businesses. If we cannot celebrate his efforts to give meaning to the lives of many northerners in particular and Nigerians in general, we should also not cast aspersions on him.
â€œWhen the so-called Coalition said its members are not involved with â€œdrug peddling and currency counterfeitingâ€, what are they insinuating? What business has the respected African entrepreneur got to do with it? It is not in the character of northerners to be involved with insulting elders, especially elders that are enterprising and economically productive,â€ the statement read.
It described as sad and unfortunate the accusations made by the coalition that Dangote Group is a destination for corrupt government officials, saying there was no iota of truth in the allegation.
â€œThe insinuation that Dangote group of companies is a â€œfinancial destination for every corrupt government officialâ€ is simply ridiculous because his chain of investments have never been associated with the trial of corrupt public officials by agencies like the EFCC or ICPC for many years. Dangote would not have been recognised by credible institutions like Forbes as the richest man in Africa.
â€œIn accusing Dangote and others of bringing economic hardship to Nigeria for the past 25 years, the Coalition has not only ridiculed itself but insulted all those Nigerians who have escaped poverty and hardship courtesy of Dangoteâ€™s investments and Corporate Social Responsibility projects. It is also a blatant lie to say Dangoteâ€™s investments in the North are â€œnegligibleâ€ or that the entrepreneur hates the North; it makes no sense at all,â€ the statement added.