Following the adoption of President Goodluck Jonathan by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as its sole candidate for the 2015 presidential election, the Northern Elders Forum has resolved to support the All Progressives Congress (APC), which looks set to throw up a northerner as its flag bearer for the poll.
The development is in reaction to the apparently dead zoning arrangement of the ruling party and the adoption of Jonathan, which effectively shut the door against the presidential aspirations of other party members from the North.
Spokesman of the NEF and former Vice Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said: “Now, that the PDP has again shut its door against the North, obviously it makes more sense for the North to fight back and ensure that PDP loses this election at the federal level”.
According to the retired don, “We have said that, we would be working for the return of leadership to the North on the grounds of fairness, equity and justice initially, thinking that the PDP, when it adopted the zoning policy, would live with this policy and respect it. But from all indications, from 2007 up to this particular point in time, the PDP has reneged on the zoning policy.
“As far as the North is concerned, it is not asking for power simply because it wants power. The argument has always been what is equitable and what is just. I was once a member of the PDP at the top level and I was aware of everything that transpired on this power rotation arrangement between the North and the South. The South had its turn of eight years and the North was expecting that it was going to have its own turn of eight years.
“Reluctantly, they agreed that Umaru Yar’adua should come on board and he did come on board and died after three years. So, it makes sensible and logical gesture for the PDP to say, ‘Well, the North has not had its eight years, it had three. One was lost to the Vice President because the constitution said so. So, the remaining fours years, starting from 2011, would sensibly have been conceded to the North, but that was not done.
“And the PDP powers who felt they could do whatever they want and they could disregard the law from court and the constitution of their own political party insisted that Jonathan should run in 2011 and I think with the connivance of some Northerners, mainly the governors who sold out.
“So, our grounds are not wanting power just because we want power, it is recognition of equity, justice and fairness.
“Now that the PDP has again shut its door against the North, obviously it makes more sense for the North to fight back and ensure that PDP loses this election at the federal level.
“Don’t worry about how many aspirants APC has, so long as a northerner will emerge, we will support him. There is no problem at all.
“If you are observant, you would have seen a document yesterday which was planted in a national daily, prepared by Research Integrity in Lagos. The report made interesting reading. It was very clear that Jonathan is not even in the third or fourth position in terms of national survey, as to who is the best candidate for Nigeria in 2015. Across the nation, the man was not even rated even 10th.
“So, the issue has shifted from resistance from the North, but resistance from the entire country that the man is not fit to remain in office after 2015. So, the North has no problem with any of the aspirants that emerges from their primaries in the APC.
“First of all, we support the primaries because the primaries are indications of democracy. But you could see what has happened in the PDP; they shut everybody out against their will and they don’t have the will to fight back.
“So, the APC should respect its constitution in terms of how candidates emerge from local government up to the Presidency. If they respect their constitution and carry out their primaries openly, fairly and transparently, they should have no problem of acceptance of the candidate that emerges as winner. So, from that point on, everybody’s hands should be on deck”, Prof. Ango Abdullahi said.