The North’s apex socio-political group, Arewa Consultative Forum, has said northerners will vote for presidential candidates from other zones, despite its interest in the return of power to the region in 2015.
The group said it was not constitutionally right, and also not feasible and desirable for northerners to vote for only candidates from the North.
While reacting to some northern youths’ criticism of the region’s leaders in an interview on Thursday, the Publicity Secretary, ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani, said the North had never been a united whole at the partisan level.
The youth, under the aegis of the Arewa Peoples Patriotic Front, while faulting their elders for calling for the return of the presidency to the region in 2015, said they should rather concentrate on how to put their house in order.
At a press conference in Kaduna on July 25, 2013, the National Chairman, APPF, Mr. Sunday Ibrahim, blamed the elders for the sundry problems confronting the region.
Ibrahim was also reacting to the position of six northern organisations, which included the ACF and the Northern Elders’ Forum, at a news conference in Kaduna on July 16, 2013, where they insisted that the North must produce the next President in 2015.
NEF spokesman and former Adviser on Food Security to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, who spoke for the groups, said, “The North is determined and is insistent that the leadership of this country will rotate to it in 2015 and I am making that very clear to you (journalists).
“The North on the basis of one man, one vote, can keep power indefinitely in the present Nigerian state. If it is on the basis of one man, one vote, demography shows that the North can keep power as long as it wants because it will always win elections.”
Sani, however, said northerners did not have to vote only candidates from the North and likewise southerners, as a condition for a northerner to become President.
He noted that a former president, Shehu Shagari, contested against Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe from the East; Chief Obafemi Awolowo from the South-West; and Mallam Aminu Kano and Waziri Ibrahim, both from the North, and still won the election.
He further said, “Chief M.K.O Abiola won in Kano against the son of the soil in the aborted Third Republic. During the First Republic, Zik won in the West, one Mallam Shehu won Mayor seat in Enugu. Many examples abound to support the contention that it is possible to make the most of our diversity by working hard to overcome those differences that divide the people.”
He added, “Instead of the youth to bore us with the past; with divisive politics and blame game, they should sublimate their energies on how best the people can come together and deliver on the promise of democracy in a united Nigeria.”