Northern elders gave an indication of how a successor to President Muhammadu Buhari should emerge in 2023.
Spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Hakeem Baba Ahmed, on Tuesday, while throwing light on the statement of the forum that the North will not allow itself to be seen as second class citizens, said the North is in trouble because of the quest by the South for one of their own to be president.
Speaking on Arise TV monitored in Abuja, the northern elder said the North will not succumb to any manner of intimidation or harassment by those from the South that are demanding that one of their own must be president in 2023.
He said leadership has failed Nigeria and it was time that the whole country comes together to elect a president that will not be a regional president but a Nigerian president.
“In a democracy, numbers are what are relevant; people doubt the voting power of the North, the population of the North. They need to go back to the last few elections and check. It does not mean that every northern vote is for a northern candidate, the pattern of elections consistently shows that millions of northerners have voted for southern candidates and millions of southerners have voted for northern candidates.
“Also, northerners have voted for southern leadership. Olusegun Obasanjo 1999 and President Jonathan became president largely because northerners who were in the National Assembly decided that we need to do something serious when late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua became so ill that they were not sure he was going to continue to be president.
“The doctrine of necessity was actually a mechanism that was contrived and pushed through by northerners. We elected Goodluck Jonathan, so there was nothing in the North that shows that we are against southern presidency, so we understand that people are desperate, people that will say if you want peace, justice in this country, you must bring the southern presidency.
“What we say is that is not the way to ask for a southern presidency. You cannot threaten us, using violence and intimidation. We read the constitution, we can read, we know what it takes to be a president.
“We know no northerner can become president unless he gets support from the South; by the same token, no one can be the president from the South without support from the North. We know there might be times and circumstances that someone from the South will become president and we will live with it, but he must be someone both northerners and southerners like and vote for.
“He must be a Nigerians’ president, not an ethnic president, not a religious president, not a regional president. We have learnt a lesson from the North. This tendency to say only one of our own… We are in trouble today because one of our own has put us in trouble.”
Dr. Baba Ahmed said if the South has not learnt their lesson “they should look at the South East, which is locked down by their own people, and the South West is fighting like mad.
“Leadership has failed Nigerians. If we cannot move beyond these issues we will continue to move in circles.
“Nobody is a second class citizen; no northerner, no southerner. If people reported what I said in terms of the South being a second class citizen, I am providing the correction now, apparently, the media has gone to town with the idea that the North is arrogant and will not play second class citizens, we don’t want to be and we will not be second class citizens. And we don’t want anyone from anywhere in the country to be second class citizens,” he said.
Meanwhile, the member representing Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa federal constituency of Oyo State, Shina Peller (APC, Oyo) has disagreed with the position of the NEF on the zoning of the 2023 presidency to the southern part of the country.
Peller, in a statement on Tuesday, argued that having the majority votes, as claimed by the NEF, doesn’t mean that the principle of equity and equality should be ignored.