The Chairman of the Northern Reawakening Forum, Mallam Muhammed Kumalia, told a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday that the north-east had the highest record of underdevelopment including poverty, illiteracy and unemployment.
The region has been greatly devastated by the Boko Haram insurgency, but the group said the problem could be traced back to 20 years ago.
“Even before the insurgency, if you still pick the development indices of the country, you realise a sharp disparity between the north and the south, which means that over the years, there has not been proper planning and execution of policies and programmes, as they were, as it will affect the north.
“Over the years, government has not been using the statistics that are there for them to plan how they will run the government,” Mr Kumalia explained.
He further urged northern governors to facilitate the development of an economic blueprint for northern Nigeria and called on the Federal Government to convene a national conference for the development of the north-east, with a short, medium and long term vision for the development of the zone.
The group said past governments had not been able to develop and implement development policies.
According to Mallam Kumalia, the region has remained underdeveloped because of bad government in the states even before the recent onslaught from terrorists which, he said, had compounded the problem.
For over five years, the Boko Haram terrorists’ insurgency has halted developmental activities, displacing over 1.5 million persons in the region, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The government of Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated its commitment to redeveloping the region.
Three north-eastern states worst hit are Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.