There is a face of a Nigerian on each of its currency notes, except N1, 000 and N50 that has two and four faces respectively. Abubakar Balewa is on N5, Alvan Ikoku on N10, Murtala Mohammed on N20, Obafemi Awolowo; N100, Ahmadu Bello; N200, Nnamdi Azikiwe; N500 while Aliyu Mai-Bornu and Clement Isong are on the N1,000 note.
In line with the federal character, South West is represented by Obafemi Awolowo, South East by Alvan Ikoku and Nnamdi Azikiwe, while South South has Clement Isong. For North West, it is Murtala Mohammed and Ahmadu Bello, North East has Abubakar Balewa and Aliyu Mai-Bornu while North Central is not represented.
We recommend late Joseph Tarka because of his contributions to the upliftment of the people of the North Central in particular and Nigeria in general before and after Nigeria’s independence.
Tarka attended all the constitutional conferences aimed at putting Nigeria on the path of independence and was among the delegations to London that negotiated Nigeria’s independence after a “self government in 1956 motion” was tabled on April 1, 1953 by Anthony Enahoro of the western house of assembly.
Tarka was the first politician from North Central to lead a political party, the United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC). He moved for the creation of Middle Belt region out of the then Northern region, but his attempt was unsuccessful.
Tarka was the first person to oppose the sharing of some federal appointments and opportunities by and among a few ethnic groups. After the aborted First Republic, he toured the North with the likes of late Aminu Kano, Aliyu Bida and other colleagues under the aegis of Northern Consultative Committee to preach Northern unity in a stable Nigeria.
When the South East attempted to secede, he declared the support of the Middle Belt for one Nigeria and was one of the chief advisers’ to Yakubu Gowon on how to sustain peace and maintain Nigeria as one nation.
While serving as Federal Commissioner for Transport under Gowon, he advised him on the need to create 12 states, an idea he nurtured in the First Republic before military incursion into the polity on January 15, 1966. That led to the creation of 12 states by Gowon, which was the first in Nigeria on May 27, 1967.
When the debate on Sharia in the constituent assembly between 1977 and 1978 in transition to the Second Republic raged and threatened the unity and stability of Nigeria, Tarka was invited as an august guest to proffer solution. His contributions made the issue to be resolved amicably. Tarka keenly contested for the presidential primaries with Shehu Shagari on the platform of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) but lost out to him in 1979.
We therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari to direct the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to look into this case and ensure the replacement of imaginary faces on N50 note with that of late Joseph Tarka so that the federal character principle will prevail.
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