•Say no support for candidates over 50 years in 2023
•Back referendum for secessionist
By Ibrahim Hassan, KADUNA
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, has said only restructuring can save Nigeria from bad leadership.
The youth group said come 2023, it will not support any candidate above 50 years during the general elections.
AYCF also advocated a referendum for secessionists to test the popularity of their agitation for separation.
Speaking to journalists, weekend, in Kaduna, President of AYCF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, said “I am one of the voices in the North today who believes in restructuring.
“The more we continue to centralize powers, we will keep having people not worthy in governance.”
He said his ultimate desire is to be alive and witness a Nigeria that works for everyone when power is decentralized.
“I hope someday I will be alive to see the structure with people doing better in their various regions like it was done in the sixties.
“Even when Sardauna had the opportunity to go to the centre to be Prime Minister, he decided to send Tafawa Balewa and remained in the North and his tremendous achievements are here for all to see,” he said.
The Arewa youths, however, ruled out supporting any candidate above 50 years old ahead of the 2023 General Elections.
According to the President, AYCF is yet to have a candidate on its beam but would put several factors before pitching tents.
We will not pitch a tent behind any old politician in 2023,” he said.
He said although it is too early to pitch tents, AYCF will only back those who are committed to good governance.
While insisting on a united and prosperous Nigeria, the AYCF supported the use of a referendum to test the popularity of agitations for separation.
“We are of the view that a room for a referendum should be created. Those agitating for secession should be allowed to have a referendum, let’s see how popular the agitations are.”
“If any part of the country wants to go, organise referendum let’s see how popular they are, so that separation can take place without bloodshed,” he said.
He expressed a strong belief in the oneness of Nigeria with a mutually beneficial relationship for all the federating units.
“I am one of those who strongly believe in the oneness of Nigeria. I have never said that Nigeria should disintegrate. Most of my close associates are Yoruba and Igbo. I schooled in Lagos State University,” he said.
According to him, they have gone to court to make case for a constitutional amendment to give room for conducting a referendum for people willing to leave the federation, but have been unsuccessful.