By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
ABUJA — As preparations for the next Presidential election gather momentum, the North has said it will not allow former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, to impose any candidate on the region and its people.
The North is still reeling under the pains of the ‘imposition’ of the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on them in 2007 and the current President on Nigerians by the former Nigerian leader.
The Convener of the Coalition of Northern Leaders, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, told Vanguard in an exclusive interview, yesterday, that the North had learnt it bitter lessons and would not allow Obasanjo to dictate to them any longer.
According to Mohammed, the people of the North do not believe that Obasanjo still has the necessary influence and power to champion their cause and will, therefore, not allow him to dabble into their political future.
The Second Republic lawmaker said those in the North, who believe that Obasanjo has what it takes to make them President, were merely deceiving themselves, as the former President’s era had since lapsed.
Reminded that Obasanjo still wields enormous influence and authority in the land given the number of men and women he put in commanding heights, Mohammed shrugged off such influence, saying the man could hardly win a ward election in hisOgunState.
He said: “We will not allow what happened in the election of Yar’Adua and Jonathan to happen again in 2015. We must rise as a people and carry our destiny in our hands.
“We will never allow somebody who does not have the interest of the people of the North to dabble into its politics in 2015.
“In any case, if Obasanjo cannot win a ward in his local government area ofOgunState, is it inKanoor Sokoto that his candidate can win?”
Obasanjo is a political liability to the North
The political commentator made it clear that those who were being bandied as Obasanjo’s candidates in the North should work hard and win the confidence of the people if they wanted to be elected rather than go to sleep with the erroneous impression that the former leader could guarantee them easy access to the Presidential Villa.
He said: “It appears to me that Obasanjo is more of a political liability to the North and anyone who puts his hope in him in 2015 is doing so at his/her own peril.
“The irony is that some uninformed persons still believe that Obasanjo has what it takes to put them in certain political offices inNigeria. That is not possible particularly in the North.”
The medical doctor-turned politician said the North would devise a more democratic means than zoning to elect its leaders in 2015 to heal the wounds of the past political mistakes and move the people of the region andNigeriaforward.
Igbo Presidency not feasible in 2015
Mohammed said Igbo Presidency would not be feasible in 2015 given the penchant of the people of the region to pull down their own rather than speak with one voice to achieve their set goal.
He maintained thatNigerianeeded a leader who could pull it out of the present predicament and take the people to a new level of socio-economic and political prosperity.
There have been reports that Obasanjo is in support of two northern governors to run as President in 2015.
Of the two, Governor Sule Lamido of JigawaStaterecently told Vanguard that he was flattered by the link of his name with the 2015 job. He did not deny nor confirm the claim.
The man he was touted to be running with, Gov. Rotimi Amaechi ofRiversState, has however openly denied having any presidential ambition. “I’m not running with Sule Lamido,” the governor was quoted as saying in the heat of the controversy.