The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has vowed that the north will continue leading Nigeria, arguing that the region has the majority to produce a leader through the ballot.
With the 2023 presidential polls in view, leaders and politicians of southern extraction have been clamoring for a shift in power, arguing that the region must provide the nation’s next leader.
But NEF, in its most recent submission on the nation’s polity, rejected the push to have Nigeria’s next president come from the southern region.
“We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before. Whether we are president or vice president or whatever, we will lead Nigeria,” NEF spokesman, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said on Sunday at a lecture in memory of the late Maitama Sule in Zaria Kaduna State.
According to him, NEF will not allow the 2023 presidency to be zoned to the southern part of the country, insisting that the position is a democratic office that will be determined by the majority.
He maintained that there is nothing wrong if the north produces the next president after Muhammadu Buhari, adding that this is possible not because the north is superior to others, but because the rules of politics avail the region a great opportunity.
The NEF spokesman stressed that the north will never be cowed into submission, nor forced to give up in the quest to retain power in 2023 considering its huge human population that gives the region an advantage over others.
While stating that the future of the north is not for sale, Baba-Ahmed also maintained that the region will not be threatened, intimidated or blackmailed into giving up its right to a democratic office.
He said the region should not be compelled to give up a democratically elected office that can be sought by any person irrespective of where he or she comes from.
The NEF spokesman further reminded those calling for power rotation to bury such thoughts, saying Nigeria is running a democratic government, whereby decisions over where the next president comes from are basically decisions that will be made by voters who will elect the leaders of their choice.
While addressing those present, Baba-Ahmed said: “The vote says vote who you want. We have the majority of the votes. Why do we need to accept a second class position when we can fight and get a first class position. Why?
“Why does anyone need to threaten us and cajole us and intimidate us? If you don’t bring the presidency here, you will see, okay let’s see, we are waiting to see.
“But when we get the power, in the name of God be humble because power comes from God”.
“If they tell you the north must play second fiddle, say No! If the rule of the game says you should vote for the candidate of your choice, vote for the candidate of your choice.
“If they do not like the fact that it might be a northerner that will emerge as president, too bad. If we want to support a southerner, we will support a southerner because that will be in our own interest, rather than in somebody’s interest.
“And we can decide for ourselves, we do not need anybody to tell us what to do,” Baba-Ahmed added.
The NEF spokesman’s comments came a few days after governors from the southern region of Nigeria declared their support to have the 2023 presidency zoned to their region.
Rising from a meeting in Enugu, Chairman of the Forum and Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu said the leaders have resolved that the next president of Nigeria must come from the southern part in line with politics of equity, justice, and fairness.