Gambari, others for northern summit
A FORMER Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister and the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General's Special Envoy, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari and Shaukat Aziz, the first prime minister of Pakistan to complete a full term in office, are billed to attend next month's Northern Economic and Investment Summit (NEIS 2008) on October 6 to 8 at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
Sponsored by the Conference of Northern States Chambers of Commerce Industry, Mines and Agriculture (CONSCCIMA), comprising all the 19 states and Abuja Chambers of Commerce, the plenary session on the opening day will be presided over by Gambari, who is also a former Nigerian Ambassador to the UN.
President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua will declare the summit open while all former heads of state from the North have accepted to be active participants at the summit.
Notable scholars, economists and jurists have also confirmed their participation at the summit. They include Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah, Prof. Ibrahim Ayagi, Chairman of National Economic Intelligence Committee (NEIC), Justice Agboola, Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and Dr. Tunji Olagunju, Presidential Adviser on NEPAD and Prof. Pat Utomi, director, Lagos Business School.
The celebrated Zimbabwean farmers in Kwara State are also attending to give their experiences on commercial farming.
CONSCCIMA Chairman, Alhaji Jani Ibrahim, said all hands are on deck to ensure an economic turn-around in the North.
"Something must be done about the economy and we are determined to improve the economy of the North, we want to tackle frontally the problem of poverty", he said.
One major goal of the summit is wealth creation, with less dependence on oil.
"It is insulting to say that the North cannot survive without oil revenue. We have other great alternatives, which we are looking into strongly at the summit", he assured.
According to the CONSCCIMA leader, the summit has received the royal blessing of the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Said Abubakar and other key royal fathers in the North.
"The Sultan is so enthusiastic about the summit and he does not hide that he is with us on this important matter", Ibrahim added.