The chairman of Northern Elders Forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi says there is nothing wrong if the North keeps power for 100 years because democracy is all about numbers and the region have what it takes.
Abdullahi stated this while speaking with The Sun as Nigeria looks forward to another general election in 2023.
He also warned that the north will only support candidates from the region in the race for 2023 presidency.
Asked if there was an unwritten agreement among northern leaders to oppose the return of the presidency to the south in 2023, Abdullahi said that zoning or power shift, which many southern leaders are agitating for is unconstitutional and would not be supported by northern leaders.
“Zoning has no place or ground in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria. It was a political party affair based on the willingness and agreement of members. No party has that arrangement except PDP,” he said.
“81% of Buhari votes in 2015 and 2019 came from the north. Though I am not a card-carrying member of any political party, I am not sure whether APC has any arrangement like this.
“Hence, they don’t have the issue of power shift and zoning does not arise. It could be right or wrong to adopt it, yet the decision is left to the party. I think it’s something that we have to be careful about.
“I think there is nothing wrong at all if the north keeps power for a century because democracy is all about numbers and we have it.”
“You see, the North is the most liberal voting block in Nigerian political history. For instance, Abiola defeated Bashir Tofa in Kano and other parts of the North in the 1993 presidential elections. This liberal attitude of northerners in the political environment made it possible to prepare the ground for a democratic system to have a foundation and solidify.
“I don’t think there is any public debate as to whether the north will vote in one direction or party. In fact, we are yet to have political party accepted by northerners in 2023 talk less of a candidate presented to the North to vote for. Maybe in the near future, we shall unveil our plan to Nigerians.
“The beginning of our resistance to Jonathan was not for him in person but to some people around him and PDP, which betrayed our agreement to hand over to North. With respect to personal integrity and honour of President Jonathan, if he had come out to say that yes, it is not my turn but I need your support to continue, that would have been a different thing but he did not do that, instead, he kept challenging.
“I wrote an open letter to Chief Edwin Clark during the controversy, reminding him on agreement we reached between myself, late Olusola Saraki and himself on the need to keep the relationship together on the nomination of candidate where if the north presents a presidential candidate, the deputy should come from south-south, this arrangement we worked for eventually produced Umaru Musa Yar’adua and Jonathan Goodluck as Vice President.
“You see with the support of the North they succeeded and in 2015 the south-south wanted to cheat the north again. This is a clear indication that some people did not care about the right of others in the north. That was why we in the Northern Elders Forum fought against it.
“I kept saying since and will repeat it that any party that gives us a candidate of northern extraction will be supported in 2023.”
Meanwhile, the national president of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), Yerima Shettima said that the north needs another chance in 2023 to serve as compensation for the many challenges troubling the region.
Shettima said the north must definitely produce the next president, adding that any political party that wants to win the election in 2023 must decide to pick its flag bearer from the north.