Groups Insist North Must Produce Nigeria’s President In 2015
Six Northern organisations, including the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), on Tuesday insisted that the North must produce the Nigeria’s President in 2015.
The ACF, the NEF, Arewa Reawakening Forum, Arewa Research and Development Project, Northern Union and the Code Group, said at a news conference in Kaduna, that an existing agreement that the Presidency should return to the region must be strictly followed.
The NEF spokesman and former Adviser on Food Security to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ango Abdullahi, who spoke for the groups, warned that if parties to the pact failed to adhere to it, the North would use its numerical strength to ensure that power returned to it in 2015.
“The North is determined and is insistent that the leadership of this country will rotate to it in 2015 and I am making that very very clear to you,” Mr Abdullahi said.
“The North on the basis of one man, one vote can keep power indefinitely in the present Nigerian state. If it is on the basis of one man, one vote, demography shows that the North can keep power as long as it wants because it will always win elections,” he added.
Mr Abdullahi, who stated that the ACF was in the forefront of the quest by the region to have a Northerner as President, added that even the Middle Belt Forum and other groups in the region were clear in their calls for a Northern President in 2015.
“All of us have this very tough and common agenda. Not that the North is power hungry . No; it (power rotation) in 2015 will be argued on the rational agreement that is on the ground today,” he explained.
He said it was morally wrong for President Goodluck Jonathan to contemplate contesting in 2015 since he was aware that such a pact existed.
Mr Abdullahi mentioned former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan as some of those who signed the pact. Jonathan, according to him, signed as number 37 when he was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State.
“He (Obasanjo) was the first to sign. This particular President (Jonathan) was there as deputy governor representing the then governor of Bayelsa State. He signed as number 37. It was found in the document,” the NEF spokesman claimed.
He also said that Mr Obasanjo started the circumvention of the pact by seeking a third term in office.
“We had agreed that the South will have eight years and then, the North will have eight years but when Obasanjo saw some loopholes, he tried to abandon the zoning as well as the constitution to seek third term,” the former presidential adviser alleged.
He noted that even after Obasanjo’s tenure, the North was short-changed due to the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, who only spent two and half years instead of eight years of two terms contained in the said agreement.
When reminded of a former Information Minister Edwin Clark’s insistence that Mr Jonathan must rule in 2015, the former Vice- Chancellor, argued that the South-South where he (Clark) hails from is “a tiny enclave of a few people, perhaps not bigger than Kaduna State.”
Mr Abdullahi added that the North would have continued to dominate the political turf if not for the voluntary sacrifices it had continued to make in the cause of the nation’s history.
He said, “Some of us who participated in constitutional conferences from 1987 till the last one – the Political Reform Conference – accepted that every part of this country should have a taste of leadership and this is the basis of the acceptance of the rotation between the North and the South.”
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