BY ABDULLAHI GARBA
Not unexpectedly, the ArewaÂ Consultative Forum (ACF) has jumped onto the bandwagon of opposition to the growing agitation for President Goodluck Jonathan to contest the 2011 Presidential elections.
In an interview published in Vanguard of June 9, 2010, the ACFâ€™s Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani declared that it will be â€œmorally preposterousâ€ for the ACF to go against zoning when it is the turn of the North to occupy the Presidency, especially when there are qualified candidates in the North who can provide national leadership. In the same vein he had also remarked that when it comes to â€œpolitics of rotationâ€ the ACF must consider the need to preserve the gentlemenâ€™s agreement which gave birth to the concept of rotational presidency.
A thorough perusal of the brief interview will conclude that the ACF has no other justification for its opposition to a Goodluck Jonathan Presidency in 2011. As a concerned citizen of the Northern states, I wish to state without the slightest fear of contradiction that President Goodluck Jonathan has no problem with the vast majority of Northerners for the simple reason that enlightened people in the North nowadays have come to the well-considered conclusion that the problem of the region and its people is the sheer nuisance value of its elites and their bogus cliques and associations such as the ACF.
It is beyond any doubt that ACF is now at its lowest ebb of diminished relevance, having drifted far away from the pragmatic and nationalistic leadership of the late Malam Liman Ciroma who was the genuine founder of the Forum.
Ever since the founding hierarchy of the ACF was unceremoniously replaced by a crop of ethnic chauvinists sponsored by politically-myopic northern governors, ACF has been avoided like a plague by all self-respecting politicians and leaders in the North, notably signaled by the formation ofÂ the Northern Union (NU).
There is no better indication of the demise of the ACF as a political organization than the fact that today it is in the hands of ex-generals and even ex-colonels who are themselves stooges of the disgraced cabals of northern military oligarchs. So as far as relevance, clout and mandate are concerned, the ACF is not even a toothless bulldog but an indolent lapdog. President Goodluck Jonathan should therefore lose no sleep and forge ahead with his presidential quest in 2011.
This appalling decay is responsible for the kind of sentimental posturing that ACF has been engaging in as illustrated by the pedestrian argument canvassed in the Vanguard interview on an issue of national importance such as the Presidency.
The issue of morality which Anthony Sani referred to in the context of supporting zoning the Presidency to the North in 2011 is a gratuitous insult to the intelligence of the northern people. It must be due to the desolate environment of the ACF Secretariat in Kaduna that its executive have lost touch with reality otherwise they are just being hypocritical to advocate zoning the Presidency to the North in 2011, when the mainstream of opinion in the North today is that the zoning campaign is solely for the benefit of the league of parasitic northern leaders of the past and their exclusive circle of family, friends and bootlickers.
You think the average northerner is excited about the re-emergence of the likes of Atiku,Â Babangida, Aliyu Gusau, Buhari etal, as the frontrunners in the chase for a specially-reserved northern presidential slot in 2011?Â What could be more â€œmorally preposterousâ€ than for ACF to be blind and deaf to the glaring and loud rejection of the ignominious recycling syndrome in 2011 and at the same time to claim to be working for the peace, progress and prosperity of the north and its frustrated and impoverished people ? We are also keenly conscious of the utter helplessness of the majority of northerners who have been stuck in the political quagmire of being at the mercy of so-called leaders whose strength derives from their stash of mega-loot which was at the expense of Nigeria in general and the people of the North particularly.
For Godâ€™s sake, since we cannot beat them and they consider themselves too superior to embrace the â€œchildren of nobodyâ€ not to talk of using their loot to develop the region meaningfully, why should we campaign for them to come back and continue their selfish oppression? President Goodluck Jonathan is in fact as much a victim of these northern hawks misrule being from the Niger Delta as the majority of northerners whose memories of northern presidency is limited to opulent hill-top mansions here and there and the snobbish arrogance of the ex-this and ex-that. He is in a better mindset to liberate northerners and the generality of Nigerians than any northern elite desperate for 2011 presidency.
So the issue of upholding any so-called gentlemanâ€™s agreement to hand-over the Presidency to the north in 2011 is dead on pronouncement because it lacks the participation much less the endorsement of the very people of the North that it was ostensibly supposed to serve. Anthony Sani himself saidÂ â€œthat a person who takes advantage of his vantage position to vitiate an agreement by his own party is most unlikely going to deliver on the promises of his own campaignsâ€, .
* Abdullahi Garba wrote from Kaduna South L.G.A., Kaduna State, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org