Spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has said heaven will not fall if a northerner is elected the next Nigerian President.
Maintaining that northerners are not second-class citizens, he said the north will not accept to serve as a second fiddle in 2023, when the region has the population to go to clinch the first position.
He said this while delivering a keynote address at the maiden Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series organised by the students wing of Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, at the weekend.
He said, “The North is not for sale and northerners will surprise those waiting for them to queue up in 2023 and be given money in exchange for their votes.”
He said anyone who does not want a northerner as President should leave the country if one emerges.
He also charged the students to be proud of who they are, challenging them not to accept being treated as second-class citizens in their own country.
“We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before, whether we are President or Vice President, we will lead Nigeria. We have the majority of the votes and the democracy says vote whom you want.
“Why should we accept second class position when we know we can buy form and contest for first class and we will win?
“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power, but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited leadership, being honest is not being stupid.
“There are Nigerians who believe that because the economy of the North is being crumbled; we are running away from insecurity, we are politically vulnerable, they think they can buy us for 2023 but they are making a mistake.
“We are ready for this; we will consider every economic adversity, challenge, we will fix the Northern economy and we are the only one who can fix this Northern economy. For that reason, we are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the North and we will rebuild the North from 2023.”
Baba-Ahmed said whether the north holds power in 2023 or not, anybody who wants to break up in this country will say so, as they were just looking for excuses.
He also charged the youths to be active in politics.
“Don’t accept second class status because you are a northerner. No northerner is a second-class citizen in this country. If we want to support a southerner, we will support a southerner because that will be in our own interest and we can decide for ourselves.”
Also speaking, a Commissioner in the Police Service Commission (PSC), Hajia Naja’atu Bala Muhammad, urged the youths to stop being intellectually lazy and selling their rights to leadership for peanuts.
Earlier, the lecturer at the event, Dr. Riyahuddeen Zubair Maitama, who spoke on “Ethical Reorientation for Positive Attitudinal Change: An Urgent National Imperative”, called for urgent ethical reorientation for positive attitudinal change among Nigerians both the governors and the governed especially the youth on whose shoulder the future of the country rests.