North rejects zoning presidency to South
• Says 2023 Polls Should Be Open To Competent, Credible Candidates
Rising from an emergency meeting of Northern Leaders of Thought at the Arewa House, yesterday, the North has said it would not accept the zoning of the 2023 Presidency to any region in the country.
The Leaders of Thought, including officials of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed; former ministers, lawmakers, religious leaders, politicians and other personalities from the region, agreed at the meeting that the 2023 presidential polls should be open for credible and competent candidates to contest.
In a communiqué issued and signed by Prof. Doknan Decent Danjuma Shenni, they urged the Federal Government not to breach “the fundamental rights of all political parties to field candidates of their choices, and the right of voters to freely exercise choices over who leads them cannot be compromised.
“Northerners have equal rights to aspire to all offices, but they must raise competence, evidence of personal integrity and commitments to the rule of law above all other considerations.
“Northerners should ignore provocative statements from groups in the South, who appear to believe in threats and hate campaigns as the hallmark or defining elements for elections. North should vote for the best leader.
“We the Northern Leaders of Thought also agreed that the current state of insecurity in the North is unprecedented and unacceptable”.
The group advised the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to revisit and re-prioritise spending on security and address poverty.
They further said: “The fundamental rights of all political parties to field candidates of their choices, and the right of voters to freely exercise choices over who leads them cannot be compromised. “Northerners have equal rights to aspire to all offices but they must raise competence, evidence of personal integrity and commitments to the rule of law above all other considerations.”
The meeting also noted “the desperate condition of the economic existence of most Northerners, poses additional threats to security and the democratic process”, stressing, “It recommends that leaders should avoid pushing the population into deeper poverty and desperation with challenging economic policies and lack of empathy.”
“ Government, at all levels, should consider a form of the structured welfare system to alleviate poverty in the populace.”
The Northern leaders also advised the Federal Government to postpone the planned 2022 National Census in view of the large numbers of displaced Nigerians and proximity of the census to the 2023 elections,
They urged the National and States’ Assemblies to prioritise constitutional amendments currently being processed and advised President Muhammadu Buhari to accent to the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, as this would improve the quality of elections.
The group charged key Northern groups to engage Southerners to improve understanding, lower tension and contribute to the creation of an atmosphere that would allow all Nigerians to live in peace with each other.