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2011: North, South South elders meeting end in deadlock

By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—AHEAD of the primaries by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, leaders of thought from the Northern and South-South geo-political zones met, yesterday, in Abuja without reaching a  compromise.

They, however, called on all the zones to douse tension.

The mood of the meeting which took place at Yar’Adua Centre, was among others, designed to find possible ways of ending the lingering political quagmire in the country arising from the heated Presidential contest, just as the leaders called for peaceful primaries and subsequent 2011 election.

It would be recalled that the North had been insisting that it had the right to retain the Presidency against the backdrop that the late Umaru Yar’adua’s tenure was designed to be eight yeas like that of the South West during former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

At yesterday’s meeting, both the Northern and the South South leaders could not arrive at an agreeable point, but they, however, called on political parties to go ahead with their programmes of electing presidential candidates in line with the 2010 Electoral Guidelines.

According to sources at the meeting, the Adamu Ciroma led group told the Edwin Clark led Southsouth Elders of the zoning and rotation principles as contained in the constitution of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the major political party that has defined the political space in Nigeria.

The Northern Elders were said to have also explained that with the return of democracy in 1999, that the political space has been defined by the PDP that has held the office of the presidency with the South represented by former President Olusegun Obasanjo being the President for eight years.

The Adamu Ciroma group explained that it was in that regard that after President Obasanjo’s era that late President Umaru Yar’Adua was elected into office in 2007, but died while in office in May 2010.

Prominent personalities who attended the meeting included Chief Edwin Clark, leader of the South_South group and Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, leader of the Northern Elders.

Other persons who attended the meeting were Alabo Graham Douglas, Mrs. Bolere Kettebu, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu, Alhaji Lawal Kaita, Hajiya Laila Dogonyaro, Alhaji Tanko Yakasi and Alhaji Hassan Ciroman Keffi.

Others were  Alhaji Bashiru Yusuf Ibrahim, Alhaji Mohammed Bello Kutigi, Dr. Eyame Enyametin Ejeme, Mrs. Rhoda Ako, Prof. Isa Mohammed, Alhaji Bello Sabo Abdulkadir, Chief Moses Alegher, Alhaji Suleiman Isiyaku and Col. J. T. Bendega (rtd.).

Addressing Journalists by both Secretaries Dr. Kettebu and Alhaji Yusuf, they said, “we resolved to ask all the people who are contesting to go ahead and do their bidding.  We also asked the political parties to go ahead and conclude their primaries so we meet again to discuss the way forward”.

Declining to take questions from journalists, they only explained that they have resolved to allow all the political parties to come up with their preferred candidates.

When Journalists met Chief Clark and Alhaji Ciroma, who said they would speak at the appropriate time, but they gave blessings to the joint secretaries to brief the press.


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