By; ISAAC ODEH, Kaduna
The Arewa Youth Consultative Forum(AYCF) has rejected the “imposition” of presidential candidates on Northerners by the southern political elite, as was the case in 2015.
In a media statement signed by its National President, Yerima Shettima, in an apparent reference to Dr. Bola Tinubu, took a swipe at Southern politicians playing the role of self-appointed messiahs of Northern voters.
The group declared: “We have noticed that gradually, Nigeria is being pushed back to the political scenario of 2015, in which the Southwest region dominated the decision-making efforts on who should be Nigeria’s president. The North, out of modesty, merely allowed that historic imposition and now the North’s first four years have become wasted years of poverty, hunger, unemployment, general underdevelopment and disturbing levels of stagnation.”
The group also noted that even though the consensus across Nigeria is that the North has a balance of four more years to terminate by 2019, the people of the region should be allowed to freely decide which particular candidate they would want as the next president, and not who is the preferred candidate of Chief Bola Tinubu or Comrade Oshiomhole both of whom are southerners.
In the words of the National President: “Even though the consensus is that power should reside within the North in 2019, we make bold to say no one should dare try to teleguide the region and its people this time around. Northerners have a right to their democratic aspirations and choice of a President and no one should try to usurp such constitutional power through the backdoor.”
The full statement
*MEDIA STATEMENT BY AREWA YOUTH CONSULTATIVE FORUM ON THE SEAT OF NIGERIA’S PRESIDENCY IN 2019*
We have noticed that gradually, Nigeria is being pushed back to the political scenario of 2015, in which the Southwest region dominated the decision- making efforts on who should be Nigeria’s president. The North, out of modesty, merely allowed that historic imposition and now the North’s first four years have become wasted years of poverty, hunger, unemployment, general underdevelopment and disturbing levels of stagnation.
As a group of citizens from the North, who mince no words in speaking the truth every time, we are once again sounding a note of warning as follows:
1. We will no longer tolerate the kind of imposition that brought the nation’s economy to knees and all we now get is empty propaganda instead of performance. This is an insult on the sensibilities of all Nigerians who struggled to drive away the military in order to pave way for democracy
2. Even though the consensus is that power should reside within the North in 2019, we make bold to say no one should dare try to teleguide the region and its people this time around. Northerners have a right to their democratic aspirations and choice of a President and no one should try to usurp such constitutional power through the backdoor.
3. We want to make it vary clear that the era of imposition of anyone on the North is gone. We are watching, very closely, the turn of events on Nigeria’s democratic space at the moment and won’t take any form of manipulation by people who know little or nothing about the kind of leadership the people of the North want.
4. We cannot fathom why people outside the North should turn our region into their political experiment field, choosing a candidate who would take orders from them and abandon his own people’s wishes and aspirations. This is primitive, unacceptable and a smear on well-known democratic principles of a modern, independent nation that we have been in over 50 years. The earlier this shameful manipulation of our hopes in democracy is stopped, the better for our relationship with our neighbours. On no account should anyone take the North for granted again, especially on the matter of 2019 presidency. We are no fools and the world has come a long way from the era of political obscurantism and harmful patronage.
5. We also find it disheartening that the Northwest is now slowly going into the hands of toxic political class, whose political madness has now reached alarming levels. How else can anyone, in his right senses, explain the emergence of Nine(9) presidential candidates all from one geopolitical zone? What has gone wrong with the North’s sense of decency in politics? Imagine the exemplary style of the Northeast, which has just two candidates! Isn’t that a lesson for the scattered and uncoordinated Northwest? If this mess is not tackled, the next generation of Northern political leaders will never forgive us for being so callous and reckless politics. And we won’t fold our arms and watch this happen.
6. We also declare that our plans are already in top gear, to use all constitutional means to protect the integrity of the North by stopping those political merchants from elsewhere who are turning our region into their experimental guinea pig. We have overlooked this political subjugation in 2015, to give democracy a chance and also not to jeopardise the alliance between the North and its neighbours. But now that there are deliberate efforts by some political merchants to repeat the same ridiculous manipulation, we are telling them that it’s no longer possible.
7. There are so many ways of promoting the deepening of democracy in Nigeria, but open and shameless manipulation is not one of them. We hope this message would serve as a final warning to those plotting for the imposition of their lackeys as presidents for selfish political gains. We have heard enough of this insult on the North just because some self-centred political marauders are being driven by the hunger for absolute power. Enough is enough.
*Alhaji Yerima Shettima