NORTHERN opposition to President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term ambition was yesterday fragmented with the emergence of a new group of elders supportive of the president and his policies towards the region.The Northern Elders Council, NEC led by elder-statesman and Second Republic Presidential Adviser, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, which was inaugurated in Kaduna by Governor Mukthar Yero of Kaduna State, immediately pledged to oppose all those they claimed were out to cause confusion in the land.The group comprising former ministers and National Assembly members and businessmen including billionaire businessman, Alhaji Hassan Adamu, Wakilin Adamawa, former Senator Muktar Aruwa among others.However, the new group was immediately dismissed by Second Republic legislator, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, who said the group cannot deliver Jonathan in 2015. Junaid’s assertion nonetheless, immediate past governor of Kano State, Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau pledged to work for the re-election of Dr. Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election.Yakassai at the inauguration of the council in Kaduna said the group emerged to protect and project northern interests and at the same time secure the existence and stability of the country.“We reject intimidation, threat and violence. Leaders and elders must lead by example. It is unacceptable for elders to make inciting and inflammatory statements capable of breaching the peace. We say no to war-like and belligerent posture,” Yakasai said.File : President Goodluck Jonathan (right) and Vice President Namadi Sambo arriving for the weekly meeting of the Federal Executive Council at the State House, Abuja. Photo: Abayomi Adeshida.“Let me reiterate that the purpose for the establishment of NEC is to protect the socio-economic and political interest of the north, the corporate existence and stability of the Nigerian nation.“We are firm and committed to the Nigerian project, we recognise the significance of Nigeria’s centenary as a political entity and call on all Nigerians to serve as agents of consolidation of national unity and continued existence of our nation as one indivisible country.“The Northern Elders Council acknowledges the current spate of violence and insurgency in the North, armed robbery and kidnapping in the other parts of the country and we urged all men and women of good will to act in concert to eradicate these menace and stabilise the polity.“The Northern Elders Council applauds the excellent working relationship with between the President Goodluck Jonathan and his vice, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, as the political leader of the north. Namadi Sambo has shown total loyalty and dedication to Mr. President and we urged them to continue work together in harmony in the interest of our nation,” Yakasai said.He said the group was supportive of the forthcoming national dialogue.Inaugurating the group yesterday, Governor Yero said the emergence of the group was a welcome development, adding that “as an ardent believer in the power of dialogue in building unity among diverse people,
I salute the courage of our elders in forming this eminent group and I declare my absolute support to the ideals of the Northern Elders Council”.Junaid Mohammed, however, immediately dismissed the group, saying that they would be inconsequential in the determination of Jonathan’s fate in 2015, describing members of the new group as political prostitutes.