By Emeka Mamah
KADUNAâ€”SECRETARY of the Political Committee of Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, Alhaji Abdulrahman Mohammed, yesterday, asked the former Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida and other presidential aspirants from the North to forget the idea and support President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.
The other aspirants include the former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari, former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, and National Security Adviser, NSA, General Mohammed Aliyu Gusau.
Mohammed told Vanguard in Kaduna that it would be immoral and unjust for northerners to claim that it was their turn to produce the next President of the country based on the zoning policy of the ruling Peoplesâ€™ Democratic Party, PDP, when northern leaders had been in power for about 38 out of the 50 years of the nationâ€™s independence.
He said apart from the fact that it was not the turn of the North, the area had no acceptable leader as the people had been clapping for the same set of leaders in the last 40 years without much to show for it.
Mohammed stressed that instead of northerners contesting election against Jonathan, the zone should use the next four years to put its house in order and plan for 2015.
He said: â€œYes, the issue of core-North and those in the periphery manifest itself at different times of the circle of leadership which is four years. When the election year is at hand, there is no core-North; we are all together; we need the aggregate votes from the North to win an election.
â€œWhen they are zoning or rotating anything under any platform to the North, you will notice that it is only the North-West and the North-East that are very vocal in trying to pick up such an opportunity that had been given to the North.
â€œLet us use the next four years of Jonathanâ€™s Presidency to put the North on a sound economic footing. If 10 out of the 19 northern governors will perform like the former Premier of the region, the late Sir Ahmadu Bello for once, we will develop fast and be ready for 2015.
â€œWithout a sound economic base, political power is meaningless and unprofitable to our teeming and unemployed youths. The issue of disunity and lack of cohesion in the North is a big problem and it will not be auspicious for all those now using the name of the North to intimidate President Jonathan for their selfish interests.
â€œWe, in the North-Central or those who people had referred to as the Middle Belt before have viewed the issue of disunity very seriously. When elections come, we are all the same. I have attended a few meetings where the issues affecting some of us who are not â€˜core northernersâ€™ were discussed.
Opportunities in the North
â€œThen, if the North-East and North-West are taking all the opportunities; especially the presidential race, then the North-Central should be free to open its mind to regulate the participation of future aspirants to meet what can be generally accepted as the conditions of credibility and qualification to represent our general interest.
â€œHaving said this, the creation of more states also did very terrible damage to the North. People eulogise and deify our leaders because they want to get a piece of the cake.
It is a pitiable situation. Now, having divided us into states, they also divided our commitments to one another since by the creation of such states, you are committed to your states and trying to get what is yours there. This brought about a lot of killings and disagreements as well as other survival instincts and wars in the North.
â€œYou will, therefore, realise that there is no way the type of cohesion we had in the old Northern Region will be the same with what exists today. I pray that there are enough people who are serious about good leadership to bring all the states together again.
â€œPeople have arrogated to themselves the position of lording themselves over us and deciding those will lead us for the rest of our lives and while that is happening, we have a depletion of our common resources.
â€œAbout 40 years ago, a group of people who were about 15 years then came together and when politics came they started eulogising their leader and greeting them, sai baba! About 20 years after, it was sai baba; 30 years later, it was the same sai baba! Most of these people they have been telling sai baba have overstayed and have, therefore, outlived their usefulness.
â€œTheir political involvement has choked and suffocated us and as such we have a situation where some people and others are losing.
â€œThey are widening the gap between the rich and the poor in the country in such a way that the gully; the big gap will protect them from the anger of the poor and I believe we will soon find a way of getting out of this because there is poverty, unemployment and this means that these people have stayed more than 40 years in power and Nigeria has not been working full swing.
â€œThe country has been making six steps forward and five steps backward. We believe that these old people should loosen their vice-grip on our countryâ€™s finances and politics.”