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28 Jan 2018

2019: North plots life after Buhari

THE controversial letter of former President Olusegun Obasanjo appears to have thrown the Northern political establishment into dilemma over the touted second term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The major stakeholders are deeply worried about the implications for the North, of the letter in which Obasanjo passed a vote of no confidence in the administration of the incumbent in all indices of good governance.
Specifically, the elder statesman urged the president to bury any thought about seeking a fresh mandate at the expiration of his current tenure.
Eminent citizens of northern extraction cutting across professional backgrounds, religious creed and political affiliation and cultural organisations have resolved to shelve their difference and collaborate towards protecting the interest of the North ahead the 2019 presidential election.
Though they were said to have also scored the Buhari administration low in performance, they believed the North must rally together so that the zone could substitute the president with a younger and vibrant politician of northern extraction for 2019.
Part of the major permutations of the leaders is to form a consensus on a young and vibrant candidate with proven pedigree, and with capacity to build bridges across the country.
Most of the current contenders in the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are above 60 years.
A source said the leaders are already looking into the background and records of such prospective choice based on the benchmark outlined by the search party.
But, his name was still being kept under wraps for what the sources described as tactical reasons.
Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar; former governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido; a serving Senator from Kano State and former governor of Kano State, Dr Musa Kwankwanso have stepped up consultations on their presidential ambitions.
A source said the leaders were looking for a candidate with proven experience and capacity to manage the country in such a manner that can take the country to the level.
“We will go after a young and intelligent Northerner who has the experience and capacity to unite Nigerians and provide equal opportunities to every one irrespective of tribe, ethnic and religious background,” the source said.
The source, however,  declined to give the name of one of such individuals the search party had been able to discover so far, saying:  ”When the time comes, we are of the firm belief that Nigerians will rally round this patriot.”
Speaking against the backdrop of the letter by Obasanjo that Buhari should not seek re-election, an elder statesman, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai said the North had other capable personalities that could lead the country.
He explained that the North had in abundance such quality individuals just as the Southern part of the country.
“Certainly, there are many people. As the Southern part of the country has large number of capable hands to rule the country, so also the North has many competent people to govern the country if they are given an opportunity to do so.
“The quality of leadership depends on competence, capacity and vision and leaders with such qualities abound in both in the Northern and the Southern parts of the country. There are no two ways about it,” he stated.
Yakassai blamed the increasing fall in the quality of leadership in the country on a faulty process that emphasised money politics, saying he had warned that Buhari would not perform to expectation.
Also speaking, the national chairman of one of the newly registered parties, National Rescue Movement (NRM), Senator Saidu Dansadau, said “the North has a duty to redeem its image from the current bad leadership of the All Progressive Congress (APC), which is being spearheaded by President Muhammad Buhari.
Speaking with Sunday Tribune, Dansadau, who maintained that “it is not too late for the North to identify with one of the political parties,” said former President Obasanjo’s letter was apt and written in good faith, pointing out that “the North should identify itself with one of the parties that proved itself to be a promising party with credible leadership and followership.
According to the senator, that would be best route for the North to follow to redeem its image, because it had been known to produce leaders that “are objective, purposeful, just and fair,” but that what has been happening under the Buhari-led Federal Government was not in the interest of the region.”
Dansadau contended that while a coalition had become necessary to wrestle power from the incumbent, the coalition should also involve credible Nigerians who will push the youths forward to take the destiny of the country on their hands.
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