Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed, the spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), on Tuesday, during an interview on Arise TV in Abuja, accused Southern Nigeria of intimidating and harassing the North.
He noted that Nigeria has leadership crisis and it was time the entire nation collectively elect a president that will not be a regional leader.
“In a democracy, numbers are what are relevant; people doubt the voting power of the North, the population of the North. They need to go back to the last few elections and check. It does not mean that every northern vote is for a northern candidate, the pattern of elections consistently shows that millions of northerners have voted for southern candidates and millions of southerners have voted for northern candidates.
“Also, northerners have voted for southern leadership. Olusegun Obasanjo 1999 and President Jonathan became president largely because northerners who were in the National Assembly decided that we need to do something serious when late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua became so ill that they were not sure he was going to continue to be president.
“The doctrine of necessity was actually a mechanism that was contrived and pushed through by northerners. We elected Goodluck Jonathan, so there was nothing in the North that shows that we are against southern presidency, so we understand that people are desperate, people that will say if you want peace, justice in this country, you must bring the southern presidency.
“What we say is that is not the way to ask for a southern presidency. You cannot threaten us, using violence and intimidation. We read the constitution, we can read, we know what it takes to be a president.
“We know no northerner can become president unless he gets support from the South; by the same token, no one can be the president from the South without support from the North. We know there might be times and circumstances that someone from the South will become president and we will live with it, but he must be someone both northerners and southerners like and vote for.
“He must be a Nigerians’ president, not an ethnic president, not a religious president, not a regional president. We have learnt a lesson from the North. This tendency to say only one of our own… We are in trouble today because one of our own has put us in trouble.”
He further noted that Southern Nigeria must learn lesson from the South-East which has been locked down by their own people. “They should look at the South East, which is locked down by their own people, and the South West is fighting like mad.
“Leadership has failed Nigerians. If we cannot move beyond these issues we will continue to move in circles.
“Nobody is a second class citizen; no northerner, no southerner. If people reported what I said in terms of the South being a second class citizen, I am providing the correction now, apparently, the media has gone to town with the idea that the North is arrogant and will not play second class citizens, we don’t want to be and we will not be second class citizens. And we don’t want anyone from anywhere in the country to be second class citizens,” he said.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.