John Shiklam in Kaduna
Organizer of the Forum of Northern Elders (NEF) and former Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, prof. Ango Abdullahi, said Northerners would no longer see religion and ethnicity as the basis for electing leaders.
He said yesterday at the Northern People’s Summit in Kaduna that Northerners would rather vote for politicians with socio-economic development plans for the region, regardless of their tribe and religion.
“Northern voters have learned, at a higher cost than most Nigerians, that ethnicity and religion alone are not good leaders,” he said.
He added that politicians who want northern votes should be convinced that their candidacies will improve security, the economy, the north and the country.
Abdullahi said politicians and leaders who wanted to lead must understand that Nigerians are watching what they are doing in their immediate constituencies which will allow them to seek their support.
He said: “Politicians who cannot impose their influence on irredentists who threaten our corporate existence and the lives and existence of our fellow Northerners stand on very thin ground in our assessment.
“Politicians who cannot or will not influence the public sentiment, which demonstrates our fellow Northerners and leaves them open to attack, will not be of great importance to us as leaders under whom we will feel safe and secure.
“Politicians who want the support and voice of northerners, but will not raise their voices and act to protect them from under-treatment in areas where they have power and influence, should not expect our people to find outstretched hands when they ask for support. “
According to him, no Northerner should assume that he will be guaranteed the support and votes of Northerners, because he is a relative.
He added that northerners had learned the experience from the values of critical oversight of records, dispositions, and empathy.
“Our advice to all Nigerian politicians at this stage is to look around and see how much the ground has moved under their feet.
“There will be no more ordinary business. Nigerians fleeing bullets, emphasizing making ends meet or being forced to fight each other instead of the real enemy, will not forgive those who have built the foundations of our present opportunities and seek to maintain their privileges over our fears and pains, ”he said.
According to him, the leadership must emerge on the basis of different criteria, and “only the best leadership can pull Nigeria off the edge.”
He said those who use restructuring as a threat or a negotiating tool to accept zoning will destroy the restructuring imperative and threaten the country.
He added that the North must think outside the box and choose new groups of leaders who would fare much better than the current ones.
Abdullahi also called on the separatists to reconsider, warning that secession is not the solution to any complaints.
He called on the federal government to threaten secession with all the seriousness it deserves.