Northern Elders Meet, Insists On Picking Consensus Candidate For 2019 Presidency

Key Northern elders have floated a new group called the Northern Political Leaders Forum (NPLF) ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The group emerged as Elders and key actors in the politics of northern Nigeria converged in Abuja to brainstorm on strategies to be adopted to pick a consensus candidate from the region for the 2019 presidential election.

The meeting was convened by a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Bello Mohammed; a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, and Senator Paul Zannan.

Other prominent northern leaders at the event are a former governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu; Senator Bala Mande; Senator Solomon Ewuga; a former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Ango Abdullahi; a former governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa; a prominent lawyer, Prof. Awwal Yadudu, and Alhaji Bala Mohammed were also in attendance.

Mohammed, speaking at the opening session said the forum was convened “after due consideration of the current political situation in the country.

“From what is apparent in the political arena today, it is clear that the major political operators have agreed that in the forthcoming 2019 General Elections, it is the turn of the North to produce the president.

“And what we can see in the political arena is that most political operators have agreed that the political leadership of our country should be zoned to the North according to our Constitution with regards to zoning and rotation.

“But from what we have seen earlier, it has always been zoned to the North but the decision on what to do and who to be has never been a Northern decision.

“What we observed is that the same trend is starting now. We have seen all kinds of movements coming up. If you look at what is happening now and remember what happened when it was the time of the North to produce president, President Umaru Yar’Adua of blessed memory was produced but was he really a Northern choice? At the end of the day, Yar’Adua had mishap and lost his life in the process and somebody else was also chosen, his Vice President.

“We knew the struggle that went on when it was decided that the presidency should leave the North. It wasn’t the northerners who decided that the Presidency should leave the North. We had to follow the bandwagon.

“The same thing happened in 2015, the North voted for the northern candidate but the decision on who should be the candidate wasn’t a northern decision.

“What we want is that this time around; let us have the opportunity to come together so that whatever is decided for the North, it is the Northern leaders who decide it and then we get support from other regions.

“If we are able to do that, then we should be able to produce a leadership for this country that would be just, equitable and lead us to nation’s development which is eluding us. That is the reason why we are here.”

The group then appointed Dr. Umar Ardo as its Secretary and Commodore Isaac M Mankilik (rtd) as Deputy Secretary.

It also raised five committees: 2019 Election Sub-Committee, Security Sub-Committee, Political Sub-Committee, Northern Unity Sub-Committee and a Restructuring of Nigeria Sub-Committee.

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