By Mohammed Abubakar
It is no longer news that the 2015 general elections has united Nigerians especially northerners, who had never voted in the same pattern. For the first time since independence, northern Christians and Muslims voted perhaps for the same party and presidential candidate. Some of us (northern Muslims) had given up hope of seeing a united north as envisioned by the late sage, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto. However, the 2015 elections has rekindled our hope that in our life time, Sardauna‘s dreams is a reality.
Muhammudu Buhari’s goodwill united northerners. This is why Engineer Buba Galadima, Senator Saidu Dansadau and many other people have voiced their concerns over attempts to scheme out northern Christians from holding one of the presiding positions of the National Assembly.
It is even more worrisome and disturbing when on Saturday 23rd May, 2015, former Minister of Defence, Lt. General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd.) condemned the manner in which northern Christians were always humiliated and disgraced out of public offices for no just cause.
Now there is an opportunity to correct the many wrongs of the past and assauge the fears expressed by Danjuma and the likes by ensuring that the number four position is ceded to a north eastern minority Christian. Already, Senator Bukola Saraki, a northern Yoruba Muslim from Kwara state is angling for the senate presidency. Therefore, the most reasonable and sensible thing to do, is to zone the Speakership to the North East since there is a ranking northern minority Christian member from that region contesting for the position.
However, if the All Progressives Congress, APC, as a political party does not follow in the path of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), it still behoves on the leaders to facilitate and encourage the emergence of a northern Christian as Speaker. Having agreed to unite under same political roof, northern Christians and minority tribes need to be compensated and carried along in this dispensation so as to further cement this new political order in the north. This should be encouraged by all concerned.
I must, however, warn that there are many implications and consequences if the present political leaders of the APC fail to adhere to words of wisdom. It will mean that, in the future, northern Muslims will not have the moral stance to ask for northern minorities’ support in elections. However, while I appreciate the efforts of some APC leaders, who are working tirelessly to ensure that these segments of the Nigerian society are carried along, others that can best be described as disgruntled elements are bent on ruining this feat.
As we get to understand, quite a number of them, both within and outside the National Assembly have been fanning the embers of religious and ethnic sentiments in order to sprout their political nest. It is the most uncharitable thing to do in these times of national rebirth. I am however, not advocating that merit be sacrificed on the altar of political compensation as in this instance, there is coincidence of merit, competence and the need for political compensation.
As it is now, a son of the North East, Hon. Yakubu Dogara from Bauchi State is in the race for the Speakership and he is ably qualified. As I read in the newspaper, he is a ranking member of the House of Representatives and a lawyer with 22 years experience in legal practice. In addition to this, he is humble, intelligent and highly charismatic. This makes him to be ably qualified for the number four position in the land.
Sadly, it now appears that his religious affiliation is being used by some people in a desperate move to edge him out. In the spirit of consolidating on the gains of the Northern union, it is expedient that the north maintains the current regional cohesion, by carrying our Christian counterparts along. Dogara is a legislator of great standing, he has to his credit a number of bills and people-oriented motions.
In an era of change, his legislative aspiration aimed at repealing obsolete legislation will certainly facilitate the enactment of relevant legislation that will ensure the actualization of the incoming government’s anti-corruption endeavors as well as other people oriented policies. Coming from an ethnic minority tribe, Dogara certainly feels the pulse of the masses and also identifies with the yearnings of the ethnic nationalities. Hence, he is strategically positioned to serve the interest of the generality of Nigerians. APC, especially the north should not miss this golden opportunity.
Abubakar wrote in from No. 10 Club Road, Bompai, Kano.