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2019: Northern elders, stakeholders converge on Abuja for a consensus presidential candidate

*Say Buhari, Yar’Adua were imposed on the region
By Joseph Erunke

ABUJA-AHEAD of 2019 general election, the elders and stakeholders in the North have begun moves aimed at getting a consensus presidential candidate from the zone other than President Muhammadu Buhari.

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The elders, who are already in Abuja, the nation’s capital city brainstorming towards that objective, said incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and late President Umaru Yar’Adua, both from the North, were not chosen by northerners but rather imposed on the North in particular and the country in general by certain forces.

To this end, they have vowed to resist a repeat of such development, saying the country’s leadership failure resulting in killings, ethno-religious divisions associated with nepotism and blatant disregard to some sections of the nation’s constitution were all as a result of the development.

At the opening of the session,Saturday, in Abuja, the elders said the meeting was called to seek ways of reaching an accord for an acceptable person who will take over the mantle of leadership and reunite the country.

Speaking at the event, prominent Northern leader and one of the conveners of the forum,
Dr Bello Haliru Mohammed, said the forum was convened “afted due consideration of the current political situation in the country.”

“After due consideration of current political situation in the country, it becomes highly expedient to convene a conversation of critical Northern Elders and stakeholders to deliberate on the best way forward for the region, “he said, adding that it was necessitated by the need for the region to deliberate and reach an acceptable choice for representation, given that the 2019 presidency had been zoned to the North.

“From what is apparent in the political arena today, it is clear that the major political operators have agreed that in the forthcoming 2019 general elections, it is the turn of the North to produce the president.

“And what we can see in the political arena, is that most political operators have agreed that the political leadership of our country should be zoned to the North according to our Constitution with regards to zoning and rotation. But from what we have seen earlier, it has always been zoned to the North but the decision on what to do and who to be has never been a Northern decision.

“What we observed is that the same trend is starting now. We have seen all kinds of movements coming up. If you look at what is happening now and remember what happened when it was the time of the North to produce president, President Umaru Yar’Adua of blessed memory was produced but was he really a Northern choice? At the end of the day, Yar’Adua had mishap and lost his life in the process and somebody else was also chosen, his Vice President. We knew the struggle that went on when it was decided that the presidency should leave the North. It wasn’t the northerners who decided that the Presidency should leave the North. We had to follow the bandwagon.

“The same thing happened in 2015,the North voted for the northern candidate but the decision on who should be the candidate wasn’t a northern decision. What we want is that this time around, let us have the opportunity to come together so that whatever is decided for the North, it is the Northern leaders who decide it and then we get support from other regions.

“If we are able to do that,then we should be able to produce a leadership for this country that would be just, equitable and lead us to nation’s development which is eluding us. That is the reason why we are here, “he explained.

He further explained the reason for the forum:”There is therefore an urgent need for consultations across all shades of political opinions within the North with the principal aim of forging a common front to partner with our brothers and sisters in other regions to ensure that, this time around, the leadership that shall emerge is one that can unite and develop our country with equity, justice and peace for all. This is the main objective of this meeting.”

Bello, a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, added:” We believe, there is an urgent need to hold a conversation amongst us with a view to devising practical strategies, options and choices in all matters relating to the 2019 general elections.

“We believe this should be encouraged, supported and vigorously pursued in order to produce a dynamic and committed political leadership that Nigeria so desperately needs at this juncture.”

Elder statesman and Chairman of the forum, tagged: “Northern Elders and Stakeholders Conversation”, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, in his opening remarks, said the meeting was informed by the need for the elders to facilitate for intensive consultations and easy collaboration among Northern elites preparatory for functional political alliance with other geo-political zones of the country based on equality, justice and the advancement of common good.


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