Outspoken Islamic cleric, Sheik Ahmad Gumi has said that a Northern Christian candidate for President under the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) would not work in Nigeria’s 2015 elections. He made the comment while analyzing the political developments in Nigeria in an interview with SaharaTV on Saturday.
Northern Christians he said needed to rebuild confidence with other Northerners before they would be taken seriously. Instead of a northern Christian candidate he suggested that a South West Muslim presidential candidate and an amiable Northern Muslim candidate as a combination that would rather guarantee a landslide.
“Because the Northern Christians, unfortunately for them, during the 2011 election … all went to Jonathan, they need to build the confidence back for the northerners to show that they believe in being northerners before they will be
taken seriously,” he said to SaharaTV’s Rudolf Okonkwo.
The sheik also said he would not accept the offer to be president of Nigeria if asked by any party but would rather support someone acceptable to the majority of Nigerians to assume office.
“I cannot be a president of Nigeria,” he said. “Why? Because of the diversity of Nigeria. Let everybody maintain his diversity. I don’t want to impose myself on people who are ready to reject me. So we should find natural people who are acceptable to everybody so that we can have peace.”
He described President Jonathan’s firing of former Aviation Minister Stella Oduah as too little too late.
“Already the nation has characterized the regime as tolerant to corruption,” he said. “The image has not yet been corrected. It would have been a better image if the president had sacked that woman.”
On the controversy over the $20 billion the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is alleged to have failed to remit to the federal account, Sheik Gumi called for a combined team of auditors from Russia, China and Germany to come and audit the corporation’s account. Handing the audit over to a Western auditing firm he said would not work because the money in question is in western banks and there would be conflict of interest. He recommended that the Senate and the House of Representatives should select the auditors and not the Minister of Finance.
Sheik Gumi also observed that Muslims were the first victims of the fight against terror. He said that the way the president fights terror had the whole of the northern region subjugated to draconic laws; a situation which he reckons has brought resentment against President Jonathan. “The imagine of Jonathan now in the North has gone bad,” he said.
Gumi rejected the president’s pronouncement last week that his government had left Nigeria better and stronger than he met it pointing at corruption and insecurity across the land as an example. “He (Jonathan) didn’t make Nigeria better,” he said. “He made it worse.”
He also commended Saharareporters for breaking stories around Stella Oduah’s corruption and sustaining the story, leading to her eventual dismissal. “If the press in Nigeria is as good as Saharareporters, Nigeria will be better” he said.