2023: North lists criteria for presidential candidates
Northern Nigerian leaders and youth have listed criteria political parties should consider when presenting their presidential candidates come 2023.
The group warned that any political party that fields an aged, incompetent, or incapable candidate should forget the region’s votes.
Spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known at the Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series organised by the Students Wing of Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) Borno State chapter, on 28th October, 2021.
Baba-Ahmed warned that the North will turn its back on any party that deliberately and specifically tilts advantages to candidates from particular regions.
According to the NEF spokesperson, the next President should emerge from a credible election from any part of the country, but he or she must be first and foremost a Nigerian President and those Northerners with ambition to run for the office should know that Northern Elders Forum, Coalition of Northern Groups and many others are not merely supporting the emergence of a Northerner to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
He noted that with the unglorifying record of performance of the Buhari administration, which many mischievously see as solely a Northern creation, Northerners are also deeply skeptical that being Northern alone is not enough to make a good leader.
Therefore, he said, the state of the North today represents the best caution that what you see as yours is not necessarily the best where you have a choice, and every Nigerian must have a choice.
“If a Northerner is to become the next President with our votes in the North, then he has to be the best among all others. He has to convince us in the North that he understands our problems, and has the capacity to solve them. He must have the disposition, energy, health and intelligence to heal the breached pluralism of the North and build bridges across the entire nation.
“He has to be able to lead a country that is failing in a number of significant areas. A personal ambition to be President will not be enough, and we will scrutinize and advise those who will listen, to avoid the temptation to put in place persons who just want power, but not responsibility.
“A president from the North must have the exposure and network to reintegrate all parts of Nigeria into one country and one vision. He must have the courage to eliminate threats of insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, irredentists, impunity, the drugs pandemic and corruption.
“He must lead with a sense of mission and urgency; the wisdom to negotiate where necessary and the clout to hit hard where he needs to; and a clear understanding of the sources and nature of our threats and their solutions,” he said.
“The point must be made again that every Nigerian, irrespective of his political party or identity must be free to contest within his or her party to be fielded as a Presidential candidate, and we should reject any party that specifically and deliberately excludes any Nigerian from exercising the same right other Nigerians have,” he said.
Similarly, Professor Usman Yusuf, former Executive Secretary of the NHIS, impressed the urgency for the youth to register massively as their only sure way to flush out those he called, bandits in government.
Professor Yusuf said those occupying positions of leadership today are worse than bandits as they breed banditry and nurture the ground for all forms of criminality by entrenching corruption, impunity, official lawlessness and excessive greed.
“This can only be remedied if the youth, particularly students in higher institutions massively acquire PVCs and participate actively in the campaign to sensitise the northern population to do so,” he said.
In response, the Board of Trustees Chairman of the CNG, Nastura Ashir Shariff warned that any of the major parties that fields incompetent, weak and aged candidate would be roundly rejected by the North and charged the youth to remain vigilant with regards to the direction the parties are conducting their affairs.
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