The Northern Elders Forum has opposed the clamour for zoning of the 2023 presidency to the South, saying power should remain in the North.
In a key note address on Saturday at the Meeting of Northern Leaders of Thought, NEF spokesperson, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, noted that every Nigerian and region had the constitutional right to run for the presidential race.
The group’s comment coming days after the National leader of the ruling All Progressive Congress, Bola Tinubu, announced his intention to run for the 2023 presidency.
The group said, “For the North, we cannot say it louder. A Northerner should be voted President only if he is the best. Being Northerner is not enough. All Nigerians need good leaders, but for us in the North, we will demand to see evidence that a candidate does not just want power to fulfill a personal ambition.
“We want to see evidence that those who want to lead us in future understand the roots of and solutions to our insecurity and poverty and distances from each other.
“We want to know how irredentism will be handled; how and when major changes in our structures and systems will be made to address popular grievances over the way our country should operate; how our economy can be re-engineered to achieve sustainable development and work for the rich and the poor equally, and how our young will be groomed to become productive, honest and patriotic citizens.
“We will demand to see an inclusive and competent team that will campaign with the candidate and transit with him into governance.
“We want a thoroughly Nigerian President who will be as hard on the bandit as he will be on secessionists and insurgents. We want a president with vision and the energy to retrieve a country on the verge of collapse and place it securely on the path of stability, security and growth.
“We are, of course, some distance from next year’s elections, but it will be dangerous to ignore signs that the journey from this point until those elections could place the country in greater danger.
“We should warn politicians to avoid destroying a country they seek to lead. We must demand that the fight against organized, violent crimes is intensified. We need to improve elite cohesion even in the context of intensely-divisive electoral campaigns.”
SaharaReporters, New York