Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), has claimed that ruling the country is northerners’ birthright, saying the people of the region will not accept being treated as second class citizens.
He stated 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, over the weekend.
Baba-Ahmed’s statement comes after Rotimi Akeredolu, Ondo State governor, said last Friday, that any political party that fields a northern candidate in the 2023 presidential election will not get support of southern Nigeria.
There have been clamour in the country that major political parties should zone their presidential tickets to the south.
However, the NEF spokesperson stated that the north will not accept to serve as second fiddle in 2023, noting that the region has the population to win election without support from any other region.
“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.
He said anyone who does not want a northerner as President after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure should leave the country if one emerges.
“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”, he stated.
“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
While charging the students to be active in politics, he also charged them to be proud of who they are.
“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,” he added.