By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA—NORTHERN leaders declared, yesterday, that their support for who flies the country’s forthcoming presidential flag from the region will be based on consensus after assessment of all the candidates of Northern extraction adopted by the various political parties.
To this end, they inaugurated standing committees that will not only drive home their political consideration, but also ensure the crises that have since plagued the region were adequately tackled with attendant restoration of permanent peace.
They include committees on 2019 presidential elections, restructuring, security and other strategic areas. They are to submit their reports on March 31.
The zones’ leaders, on the platform of Northern Leaders and Stakeholders’ Assembly, at the inaugural ceremony in Abuja, also dismissed the adoption of President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 by some state chapters of All Progressives Congress, APC, saying their actions hold no water as only the party’s convention can adopt him for his bid.
Elder statesman and Chairman of the organisation, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, who spoke at the event, insisted that Northern leaders will only throw their weights behind generally-acceptable candidate after considering all the candidates put forward by the various political parties.
According to Yakassai, there is a provision for adopting candidates and so far, we have not seen that happened to President Muhammadu Buhari, following his rumoured second term bid. And until that is done, any adoption by state chapters of his party is not legal.
“The constitution of APC or other political parties has not provided for the executives of the parties to nominate candidates; it is only the convention that does that. Ours is an organisation whose doors are opened to all, we are not here for a particular political party.”
Yakassai, who said the biggest challenge the country was facing at the moment, besides security problem, was how to conduct free, fair and peaceful election.
He added: “If the President had summoned a stakeholders’ meeting between farmers and herdsmen, traditional rulers, political and religious leaders, National Assembly and all of that, and laid the issue before them, some ideas would be developed to provide direction for the government to follow.”
On farmers, herders’ crisis
He also said adoption of ranches instead of grazing reserves could permanently solve the herdsmen, farmers’ clashes, which have led to loss of lives besides wanton destruction of property.
His words: “I am from Kano and I served past government of Kano State for eight years and one of the programmes initiated by the late governor of Kano State, Audu Bako, was ranching. And I think it’s a good idea if the whole country can adopt it.
“We have an interesting geographical distribution. While there is rain here, in the next place, there is no rain. So you can see that these are challenges that have to be tackled through collective efforts.”