The agitation for power shift to the North by the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) as represented by Professor Ango Abdullahi and the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), do not represent the general views of the region, Dr. Abdujelil Tafawa Balewa, son of the First Republic Prime Minister of Nigeria, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, has said.
Dr. Tafawa Balewa, who made these views known in a parley with newsmen on Wednesday, said that each group within the polity was free to express its views, adding, however, that the views remain personal opinions.
He said: “Constitutionally, President Goodluck Jonathan has every right as a Nigerian citizen to run for a second term. You can count on me, I will vote for him. There has never been and even before independence, until now, a president that has done so well and seen within our society that women who constitute about half of the population are now being moved up in our ministries and several embassies all over the world.”
He added that “Democracy is about education. If you are able to convince the citizenry of what it is that you are offering. If they agree with you, they would vote for you. If they see what it is that you are doing and it is the right thing for their children and for the future generation, they will vote for you.”
He noted that despite his support for individuals and groups to champion the direction of where power at the centre should rest in 2015, he believes it is high time for Nigeria to move from primordial dichotomies and unite the country behind candidates who could move the country forward.
He further said: “In a democracy, everyone has a right to express himself. It is incumbent on whoever wants to speak for a political party, a regional party to say what it is that they want. So, I see nothing wrong with that.
“Northerners are more politically savvy than you may think. You can imagine cattle herders coming from Maiduguri or Kano coming to the South, they will have their radios plastered to their ears, listening to BBC. They know what is going on around the world and are more current than you think and unlike here in the South where people are so immersed in different other things, commerce and so on, the northern citizen is very politically savvy and they need to be convinced of what your intentions are.”
Commending President Jonathan for performing well, Dr. Tafawa Balewa said he would support a situation whereby the president continues in office for a second term in 2015