Chief Ayo Adebanjo
By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
The Northern Elders Forum, NEF, has said they were not moved by the leader of Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo’s warning that any attempt by a northerner to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 will spell doom for Nigeria.
NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who spoke in Abuja on Monday, said Adebanjo’s threat was laughable and vowed that the North would continue to vote according to the way its interest dictates.
Adebanjo had over the weekend canvassed an Igbo Presidency in 2023, saying: “All those who say the South-East cannot be President, ask them ‘what has the South-East done? Are they not part of Nigeria? Is the South-East not part of Southern Nigeria?
“If you want peace in Nigeria, the South-East should produce the next President. Olusegun Obasanjo had done it for eight years, Yemi Osinbajo would be Vice President for eight years from 2023, Goodluck Jonathan was President for six years.
“Is the South-East not in Nigeria? And then, you want it to go back to the South-West again.”
Northern Elders Forum responds
According to Baba-Ahmed, “The real politicians, who know and understand the depth of the Nigerian nation and what it will take to lead it know that it is talk like this from Chief Adebanjo, and not the identity of the next President, that represents threats to our future.
“Politicians from all parts of the country are talking to each other, trying to deal with the challenges of putting together the next set of leaders, while a man of over 90 years old is threatening all of us.
“It will be interesting to know how many Yoruba support Adebanjo’s position.
“But the number of serious and credible politicians from the South-West and other parts of Nigeria suggest that he is really just on his own.
“The target in this crude, lazy politics is the North, and it is not impressed. It will vote, like all parts of Nigeria, exactly the way its interests dictate.
“A President that emerges out of crises or the shadows of threats will only compound the problems of a nation that needs to create a confident and secure future.”