Ahead of the 2023 general election, some elders in the North have said the region will not give up the presidency to the South, insisting that the region will continue to rule Nigeria.
This seems to be a response to the demand by the Southern Governors’ Forum that presidential power must return to the South at the expiry of the eight-year two-term tenure of President Muhamamdu Buhari in 2023, in the spirit of power rotation, equity and fair play.
LEADERSHIP reports that since the return of civil rule in 1999, power has traditional moved between the South and North. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (South) handed over to the late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua (North), who died in office. Dr Good luck Jonathan (South), who was Yar’Adua’s deputy, took the seat until he yielded it to Muhammadu Buhari (North) after the 2015 general election.
On Thursday, the Southern governors had risen from their meeting in Enugu to repeat their call for the president to revert to the South in 2023, just as they threw their weight behind the collection of VAT by state governments, among other resolutions.
However, the spokesperson of one of the groups in the region, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, yesterday said the North was not for sale and that Northerners are not second-class citizens of Nigeria, as such the region will not accept to play second fiddle when the region has the population to vie for the top political position and win.
Dr. Baba-Ahmed stated this at the weekend at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria while delivering the keynote address at the inaugural edition of Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series organised by the students wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG).
While urging the students to be proud of who they are as Northerners, he also challenged them not to accept being treated as second-class citizens in their own country.
Speaking about the 2023 general elections and the agitations for power shift to the South, Baba-Ahmed said the heavens will not fall if a northerner is again elected the next president of Nigeria.
He stated further that the North was not for sale and that Northerners will surprise those waiting for them to queue up in 2023 and be given money in exchange for their votes, adding that anyone who does not want a northerner as president should leave the country if one emerges.