Recalls how he provided platforms for Atiku, Ribadu, Buhari
As pro-Jonathan, pro-Bello protests rock national secretariat
By Omeiza Ajayi, Abuja
Some members of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC under the aegis of Northern Progressive Agenda NPA have described the clamour by some elements in the North to retain power in the region as an indication of being ungrateful to the South which had supported it in times past.
This was as a group known as Goodluck Nigeria Ambassadors stormed the party’s national secretariat to canvass support for former President Goodluck Jonathan to be fielded as the Presidential Candidate of the APC.
While they were at the secretariat, scores of Persons Living With Disabilities PLWDs drawn from across the country also took an advocacy protest to the secretariat demanding that the Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello be considered to fly the party’s flag in the presidential election.
At a news conference Friday in Abuja, while the group insisted on power-shift to the South, it specifically singled out a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as one southerner who has done a lot for the North and who mist be supported to clinch the presidential ticket of the APC.
Spokesman of the group, Mr Dominic Alancha, who read a prepared speech recalled how Tinubu had consistently offered his platforms to northern presidential aspirants to help them achieve their dreams of ruling the country.
He said; “When former President Olusegun Obasanjo wanted to put an end to the political career of his vice, who incidentally is the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP today, it was the south that gave him a lifeline by offering him the ticket of the then Action Congress AC to contest for the number one seat in the country.
“It was the south who offered the north in the person of Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, a presidential ticket, after the failure of the first merger plan between the Congress for Progressives Change CPC and the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN.
“It was the same south, following the merger that produced the All Progressives Congress APC that supported President Muhammadu Buhari, a northerner to clinch the ticket, win the presidential election and is now running out his second term.
“While the southern region boasts of many qualified and competent individuals fit for the office of the president, we are calling on the party to particularly narrow its search to the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose many contributions and sacrifices exemplified in the opportunities given to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Mallam Nuhu, President Muhammadu Buhari and many more have benefited the north more than it has benefited his own region of the south and south west in particular.
“Having enjoyed all these cooperation from the southern region, do we want to prove that we are ungrateful people by refusing to stand by them when it is our turn to do so? The Peoples Democratic Party and by extension her presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has already demonstrated bad faith by ceding the ticket to the north. Our political elites in the All Progressives Congress and the north as a whole must not display that sense of ingratitude which is not one of the character trait of an average northerner. The north did it in 1999 by refusing to present any candidate in the two major political parties that contested the presidential election then. Those of us in the APC can do it again in 2023.
“The Northern Progressive Agenda NPA therefore calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to reciprocate the gestures of the south of which he is a great beneficiary by refusing to listen to the call for the north to retain power. We also call on the leadership of the All Progressives Congress, political elites from the north, especially the governors and delegates alike to show good faith by ensuring that power shifts to the southern region. We must not allow our greed for power to cause us unwarranted and irredeemable reputational damage in the eyes of other Nigerians”, the group stated.
Meanwhile, the PLWDs said they were at the national secretariat to thank President Muhammad Buhari for giving them a voice by creating a Commission for them as well as the disability law that makes it compulsory for 5% of PLWDs to be employed in any government agency.
They said Governor Bello had domesticated the disability law in Kogi State and hence they expressed confidence that if he wins the Presidency, issues of PLWDs would be his priority.
The Chairman, Kogi State Disability Board, Hon Ibrahim Daniel Arome, said the board he chairs was established by Gov. Bello.
“We want to let everybody know that the inclusion we have been yearning for can only be found in the APC under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari who made it possible for us to have a voice.
“Also in Kogi State, Governor Yahaya Bello has domesticated the disability law and today though on a wheel chair I lead a free and fulfilled life like any other person.
“So many of us who have been so neglected by the society, APC has given us a voice, Gov Yahaya Bello who we are expecting to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari has also given us the same voice in Kogi State.
“This is the only Governor who has given automatic ticket for Ankpa 1 State Constituency to a PLWD after pleading with able bodied men who were contending with him and they understood why the PLWD should be in the law making business and today we have a PLWD who will fly the APC flag during the next election.
On his part, the Deputy Speaker, Kogi State House of Assembly, Honourable Ahmed Muhammed who sponsored the state disability law commended Governor Bello for making issues of People With Disabilities his priority.