Nigeria’s northern region won’t play second fiddle to any other region ahead of the 2023 presidential election, because the north has the numbers to produce a president, according to the Director of Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
Some members of Nigeria’s northern political elite have recently been speaking against a gentleman’s rotational presidency agreement, which sees Nigeria’s presidency oscillating between north and south every eight years.
Punch reports that Baba-Ahmed offered the remarks while delivering a keynote address at the maiden Maitama Sule Lecture Series organised by the students’ wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups, at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, on Saturday, September 18.
Baba-Ahmed said: “We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before, whether we are President or Vice President, we will lead Nigeria. We have the majority of the votes and democracy says vote whom you want.
“Why should we accept a second class position when we know we can buy a form and contest for first class and we will win?
“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power, but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited the leadership and being honest is not being stupid.
“The north has pride; we are humble enough to know that we are going to run Nigeria with other people but we are not going to play a second fiddle to anybody.
“We may not have the most robust economy, there are people who are trying to strangulate us even more than we are being strangled.
“We are ready for this. We will consider every economic adversity, challenge. We will fix the northern economy and we are the only ones who can fix this northern economy. For that reason, we are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the north and we will rebuild the north from 2023.
“Whether the north holds power in 2023 or not, anybody who wants to break up in this country will say so, they are just looking for excuses.
“This is democracy. If they don’t like what Nigeria is, they will say they want to break up from this country, we don’t pay attention to those people, we are focused on the fact that we are running a democratic system.”
The NEF spokesperson added that: “If the majority of Nigeria voters vote for a candidate from the north and he becomes the President and somebody doesn’t want to live under the Nigeria President, the person can leave.”
Last week, the governors reiterated that all three major political parties must field southern candidates ahead of the 2023 general elections.
President Buhari, a northerner, has been in power since 2015 and will leave the throne room when his constitutionally permissible two terms of eight years in office, elapses in 2023.