The Chairman, Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Malam Adamu Fika, Wazirin Fika, yesterday went down memory lane about how and why the Forum was formed.
The ACF was formed in the year 2000, mostly by northern elders and leaders.
Fika, one time Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) disclosed that three northern groups actually fused into one to become ACF with the then sole objective of dousing tensions caused by the failed coup staged by Major Gideon Orkar.
Major Orkar attempted to overthrow the military government of the then Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) on April 22, 1990.
The ACF was established 10 years after Orkar’s failed coup in an effort to politically stabilise the country.
Speaking at the formal inauguration of the organising committee for the ACF’s 20th anniversary celebrations, the BOT chair noted that the Forum has played a significant role in the country, especially in the areas of peace, conflict resolution as well as maintaining political stability.
The former Governor of Sokoto State, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, was appointed chairman of the anniversary organising committee, while 130 sub-committees were formed. The date of the anniversary is expected to be made known in due course.
According to Fika: “ACF came into being in 2000 through the amalgamation of three northern groups, namely the Turaki Committee, the Northern Elders Forum and the Unity and Development Foundation.
“The Turaki Committee, chaired by late President Shehu Shagari was established in the aftermath of the Gideon Orkar Coup with objectives among others, to douse the tensions created by the failed coup and help to stabilise the polity.
“With time as the situation in the country became calm, the activities of the Turaki Committee slowed down. The Northern Elders Forum, which was led by late Alhaji Abdurrahman Okene, was formed to ensure sustainable political stability in the country.
“The decline in the activities of these two groups led to the emergence of the Unity and Development Foundation, which was led by late Alhaji Sule Katagum. The formation of the Unity and Development Foundation, bringing to three the number of groups in the north which led to a competition among them, thus underscoring the need for the north to have a strong and viable umbrella organisation.
“The late elderstateaman, Malam Yahaya Gusau, encouraged the late Mai Borgu, who first muted the idea, and Malam Liman Ciroma, to ensure the creation of a new group for the north.
“As a result of consultations among northern leaders, including political, ethnic and traditional leaders, it led to the fusing together of the three groups into a new umbrella to be known henceforth as the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF.”
The Wazirin Fika also noted that ACF had in the last 20 years ensured the entrenchment of a democratic culture and norms, adding that the Forum had offered patriotic advice to the Government.
He equally recalled how ACF defended the interests of the north at the Oputa Panel.
“Worthy of note is the ACF outings at the Oputa Panel, when we defended the interests of the north in general and the role of northern soldiers during the civil war.
“The ACF also played significant roles during the constitutional conferences. Our mediation efforts helped to douse tensions and accelerated the processes of reconciliation in Jo’s sectarian crises and the Tiv/Jukun crisis. Regrettably, the Tiv/Jukun issue has again reared its ugly head.
“We must at all times give tribute to the pioneer leaders of the Forum who laid a good foundation for its growth and its modest achievements.
“For 20 years our founders had played their remarkable part in transforming the ACF into a formidable organisation. The next 20 years is for you, the younger generation of leaders, to move the Forum to an enviable position of strength so that it can withstand the challenges and demands of the 21st century north and Nigeria,” Fika added.