By Biodun Busari
Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, AYCF, has expressed its displeasure with Northern governors elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for supporting that Presidency should go to the South in 2023.
The northern group berated the governors for not consulting the elders and stakeholders in the region before making their decision, stating that, “it is undemocratic to Zone Nigeria’s presidency to the South in 2023 because it is the prerogative of voters to decide which candidate they would like to vote for.”
AYCF revealed these in a statement of its press conference on Sunday to criticise the decision of the Northern APC governors who declared that power should be ceded to the South after their meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday night.
Vanguard had on Saturday that 11 Northern APC governors unanimously said, “After careful deliberation, we wish to state our firm conviction that after eight years in office of President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC for the 2023 elections should be one of our teeming members from the southern states of Nigeria.”
But, in the statement issued by the AYCF National President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, the group said: “We call on all Northerners of good conscience to reject this wholesale disenfranchisement of innocent Northern voters in broad daylight.”
The statement reads : “We have been following with keen interest the open disdain for the ethics of democracy by 11 Northern Governors who, willy-nilly traded off our region’s right to participatory democracy by taking a stance on direct powershift to the South.
“We are deeply disturbed that in addition to their failure to save the North from massive poverty, insurgency, banditry and kidnapping, they are turning around to deny us the right to freely choose where our people want the next president to come from. But we don’t expect party Delegates to follow the self-serving agenda.
“As a group that upholds the ethics of democracy, we feel duty bound to call out these Northern governors. And we wish to state as follows:
“It is undemocratic to Zone Nigeria’s presidency to the South in 2023 because it is the prerogative of voters to decide which candidate they would like to vote for, whether a Northerner or a Southerner. The masses have not spoken yet and it amounts to imposition to declare that South is the way to go.
“The 11 Northern Governors did not indicate a single effort they made to consult their people in the region, before their wholesale endorsement of the declaration for a Southern presidential candidate. An important pillar of democracy, which is consultation with the masses, is out of the question because our governors would rather pretend that their wish is supreme.
“Going by what has happened so far, it is now abundantly clear to innocent Northern voters that their mind is being conditioned to accept a purely selfish and shameful political agenda of relinquishing power on a platter of gold , like the military was doing in the past
“Though we are aware of how much the North’s Founding fathers like Sardauna Ahmadu Bello worked for the interest of the region, we are not surprised that Sardauna agenda has now been undermined by the inordinate ambition of our governors. It is worrisome that our Governors have sold out completely this time, with their smear on democracy and the electiral rights of the masses.
“We are deeply worried that the dream of having new faces at the helmsman of affairs of our democratic institutions has now been deliberately killed by self-serving Governors of the North.
“The real agenda of these Northern governors, which is now unfolding, is to deliberately blackmail Buhari into doing their bidding. They expect the President, who loves his people so much, to turn his back via allowing his successor to emerge through the backdoor. We urge President Buhari never to succumb to these Governors’ cheap balckmail of selling out our people’s right to vote the real candidate of their choice – whether a Northerner or not.
“We call on all Northerners of good conscience to reject this wholesale disenfranchisement of innocent Northern voters in broad daylight, by State Chief Executives that are bound by the constitution and the Rule of Law to protect and promote our interests as obedient followers. We say no to this brigandage and brazen dictatorship in the guise democratic strategy.
“We are seriously looking up to President Buhari, not to let the North down. And our biggest hope are the Delegates who have a duty to do whatever is democratically right to defend, promote and project the interest of Nigerians in general and the Northerners in particular.
“We are still watching very closely to this disenfranchising move of the Northern governors against their people, for self-serving political agenda. And we are also waiting to see what happens tomorrow, to see whether they have a new definition of democratic culture and decorum.”