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2023 Election: Politicians Heating Up The Polity, Not Necessary

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2023 Election:Politicians Heating Up The Polity, Not Necessary

Abba Dukawa

Since the advent of civil rule in 1999, no political party has ever ceded the position of the President and that of the National chairman to the same region. The positions rotate between South and North.   From 1999 to 2015, our southern Nigeria compatriots led this country for  14 years  former President Olusegun Obasanjo for two term of four years each South West and former President Goodluck Jonathan for six years four years of his fresh mandate and two years for remaining late Yar’adua’s term in office, South South.
What the Southern Governors Forum (SGF), forget is not  new for the northerners to vote for southerners for the sake of peace and fairness. What Southern Governors Forum, other  politicians still forgot is that neither APC nor PDP constitution is binding upon Nigerians, what only is binding on Nigerians is the country constitution.
The 1999 constitution has given rights and privileges to every citizen to aspire  any position irrespective of  state of origin, tribe,  and religion. Really Nigerians have the right to aspire for any office; the constitution has  guaranteed citizens to participate in the political process. 
No any part of the country can produce a President of the country without votes of the other zone despite northern Nigeria have the highest votes but cannot produce President without southern vote. Isn’t it sounds funny for SGF started talking about power shift? While there is still about 913 days to the elections. 
Now, it is uncalled for, anyone either individuals or Forum to start calling for power shift to certain region, despite agitators have all risen through the political process not by mare shift of power knowing political offices are not given or acquired by force. politics is about persuasion, not seeking shortcuts to power. 
The next general elections may be two years away from now, but the debate about which part of the country should produce  All Progressives Congress (APC) and People Democratic Party (PDP) presidential  candidates  has begun to heat up the polity.  There is no zoning in the APC constitution, so in PDP  what only exists is a gentlemen’s agreement and also, in the Nigerian constitution, there’s nothing like that. Even though, they reaffirmed their commitment to the unity of Nigeria on the pillars of equity, fairness, justice, progress and peaceful coexistence between and amongst its people.  The Forum unanimously agrees that the presidency of Nigeria should  rotate between Southern and Northern Nigeria and resolved that the next president of Nigeria should emerge from the Southern Region. If they really  reaffirmed unity of Nigeria every group across the country must stop provocative comments, or try to heat the polity. Rotation is unconstitutional and therefore any group should stop using it to make noise. its too  early for  any group to agitate for 2023 elections. Rather than talk of zoning or rotation of presidency, politicians and Nigerian should always consider voting quality leaders during elections, instead of focusing on zoning. To be fair to Southern Governors Forum (SGF)  before forum start agitations on the likely transfer of power to Southern part of the country comes 2023 elections, President’s nephew,  Mamman Daura started it just one year into PMB’s second term in office, in July 2020, he  had argued that rather than zoning the ticket, competence should be given priority in the choice of the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2023. Even though, the ruling party and the Presidency dissociated themselves from the comment, many stakeholders saw it as a ploy by some that arrogated power to themselves above  of the country to hang on to authority.
Let Forum and alike individuals and groups across the country to remember that we are in democracy and everyone is free to contest for president in 2023 and allow the electorate to make their choice. For this reason let all these individuals, forums and their footsoldiers know clearly neither threats nor intimidation can force the electorates to circumventing to their egos and selfish interest for their political survival, I am personally not saying a southerner should not be President of Nigeria when the time comes, but the forum and their footsoldiers must not heat the polity by saying it is their turn by promoting anarchy.

For the country to move forward, Nigerians need a qualified and competent person from other part of the country. What the country and citizens at large benefited from rotational Presidency or President of the country not on competency
Nigerians have freedom of choice. Let the forum understand that politics is about persuasion, not seeking shortcuts to power without working for it. Every Nigerian has the right to contest for the highest office in the land because Nigeria is a democratic nation. Let all the regional groups in the country to understand peaceful coexistence of Nigeria is most vital to all therefore their resolutions in that regard has further exposed deliberate attempt to impose a contentious system of rotational presidency that turns all democratic norms and accepted indices of  national demography on their heads, a rotational system that is clearly aimed at achieving selfish political goals.
Dukawa Wrote in from Kano abbahydukawa@gmail.com

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Opinion

Goronyo Attack: NEGF Donate N20M, As Zulum, Yahaya Pay Sympathy Visit To Sokoto

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Goronyo Attack: NEGF’ Donate N20m, As Zulum , Yahaya pay sympathy visit to Sokoto

By Madu Mohammed, Maiduguri

The Borno state Governor Babagana Zulum alongside his Gombe counterpart, Governor Inuwa Yahaya were on Saturday in Sokoto on behalf of the Northeast Governor’s Forum (NEGF) on a condolence and solidarity visit to Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal over a recent attack on Goronyo market by bandits, which left about 40 dead..

Governor Zulum who is the Chairman of the NEGF, accompanied by Governor Inuwa Yahaya led the visit on behalf of the Northeast Governors Forum, and donated N20m as solidarity humanitarian support.

Governor Zulum while condoling Governor Tambuwal at the Government House, Sokoto said the Northeast Governors share the grief of families affected by the attack hence the delegation, to register their condolence and express solidarity.

Zulum prayed for the return of peace in Sokoto and all parts of Nigeria, noting his doors are always open to exchange of experiences given from challenges faced by Borno State, and steps being adopted on the way forward.

Respinding, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal expressed profound gratitude to the Northeast Governors Forum, stressing that the visit was a soothing balm to victims and affected families, and to the entire people of Sokoto State.

Tambuwal further described the coming of Governors Zulum and Yahaya as a clear manifestation of love and brotherhood between the Northeast and the Northwest in general, and between Borno, Gombe and Sokoto States.

Governor Tambuwal acknowledged the many efforts of Zulum in Borno since becoming Governor two years ago.

The two Governors were accompanied to Sokoto by Borno’s Commissioners for Agriculture, Bukar Talba, Works, Architect Yerima Saleh, Adviser on Special Duties, Bakari Ali Kotoko, and Adviser on Local Government and Emirate Affairs, Abba Kawu Shehu Garbai.

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The North East: Which Way Forward?, By Hassan Gimba

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The North East: Which Way Forward?, by Hassan Gimba

Being a speech delivered by Hassan Gimba, publisher of Neptune Prime online newspaper and magazine, chairman Northeast Publishers’ Forum, as the Guest Speaker at the 6th Annual Awards and Recognition Night of the Northeast Star magazine, held on the 21st of October, 2021 at the Conference Hall of AUN, Yola, Adamawa State.

All protocols observed.

The North East came into existence on the 5th of May, 1967 when, in his bid to check the influence of Odumegwu Ojukwu in the East, General Yakubu Gowon created 12 states out of the four regions in the country.

On the 3rd of February, 1976, General Murtala Ramat Mohammed divided the monolith North Eastern state into three – Borno, Bauchi and Gongola. These three states were further divided into six by General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida on the 27th of August, 1991. From Borno we got Yobe, Bauchi gave birth to Gombe and from Adamawa came Taraba.

From a part of the Northern Region to an independent state, the North East, which now boasts of six states, has always been number one among its peers in almost all aspects of human endeavour – but from the rear.

For instance, in 2017, Taraba State was number 21 in Nigeria in WAEC, Borno number 25, Adamawa 28, Bauchi 31, Gombe 34 and Yobe 37. These are the kinds of results we have been getting through the years.

But we all know that education is the foundation upon which individuals, communities, nations develop. Without it, no barriers can be broken.

When you look at the health sector, we have the least number of tertiary hospitals and research institutes in the country.

We have dilapidated infrastructure and a poor road network with a lot of hinterlands unopened, so our farmers have limited access to urban markets. There is currently no functional railway network in the whole of the North East.

All these have not helped because insecurity, fuelled by the Boko Haram insurgency, has ravaged the zone.

Despite all these disadvantages, we have the potential to feed the nation. We have some of the best agrarian fields in the country, with a plateau that boasts of the best temperate climate around.

We have produced some of the best brains in the country. The Golden Voice came from here. The North East has produced great technocrats, captains of industry, politicians and statesmen that have contributed to making Nigeria a great nation.

What many cannot understand is that it is the North East that has given stability to a political North that allows such to be translated into national stability.

In 1978, a son of the North East, Malam Adamu Ciroma, despite being arguably better qualified, embraced a North Westerner to form the central government. When the opposition wanted to destabilise the government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim, a North Easterner, stood against that.

By joining the government of General Sani Abacha in 1993, Ambassador Babagana Kingibe yanked the carpet from under the feet of those who wanted to destabilise the nation because of the annulment of the June 12 elections.

One of the greatest North Easterners of all time is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. A true democrat if ever there was one. He, more than almost everyone, has deepened our democracy through seeking court pronouncements to restore his rights after his falling out with his then principal, President Olusegun Obasanjo, and many other democratic actions. He has pushed us towards democratisation and the acceptance of democracy.

Even though the North West and North Central are bigger than the North East, the zone has always acted as the big brother for peace to reign. Politically, we have always given in to the two other zones to produce the president.

This is not because of incapacity. No, we have always at all points produced capable people who could steer the ship of state successfully and to the satisfaction of all. We have always given in to maintaining our bond and ties. We view all as our brothers and we love being our brothers’ keepers.

We have never cried over this. While others may want to see it as marginalisation if it were them, we see it as a unifying gesture. But now is the time for them to reciprocate.

The North East should henceforth mobilise and sensitise people on the fact that it is now its turn to produce the next president.

Another sound argument is that we have capable hands that can take this nation forward. We have them: those who will be fair to all and have the nation at heart; those who will give everyone their rights; those who can turn around the fortunes of this nation and make it into the great nation that it ought to be.

But we should not mouth such an agenda as a slogan. We have to be deliberate in working for it and working towards it. We have to start by empowering ourselves. Those with the opportunity to empower people should do so; those empowered owe it as a duty to build up others.

Some of the senior North Easterners have done so – building institutions and businesses that would take many people off the streets and thus cutting down on the recruitment base of insurgents and perpetrators of violent crimes.

Our political stakeholders must, as a matter of urgency, look into our political recruitment process. Governors should not be afraid of having capable hands in the houses of assembly in their states. A situation where nitwits, instead of brilliant young chaps, are pushed to the legislature will not augur well for our present and future development.

When a governor recruits those brilliant minds, they don’t take his glory away because he remains “His Excellency” in the state and any success must be linked to his name, but he gets them to apply their God-given resources to work for the people, the state and the region. They also learn the fine points of politics, leadership and governance which will prepare them for service to the people at local, state and national levels.

READ ALSO: 2023: Let’s Look To The North East, by Hassan Gimba

By surrounding themselves with such good heads, the governors and other political office holders will provide good leadership not only now but also in the future.

This is, however, a short, medium and long-term plan.

From now till 2023, we must mobilise the North East to know that the presidency should come here. Not for any personal gain, but because taking Nigeria out of the woods has once more fallen on its shoulders.

Once more?, people ask. Yes, once more, is the answer. The North East is the hub of northern politics. Northern politics that reached out to dominate national politics started in this zone. The discussions for the formation of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) which culminated in its fruition in Zaria, started in Bauchi.

The first political party in Nigeria, the Northern Elements Progressive Union (NEPU) was founded in Bauchi and its intellectual fountain was Sa’ad Zungur. Malam Aminu Kano keyed in because he was a teacher in Bauchi then. We should also not forget Ibrahim Imam and his Borno Youth Movement.

Perhaps we do not want our brothers from the North West and North Central to think because Nigerian politics started in our zone, that’s why we want to Lord it over them. And so we always bend backwards for them.

People with vast resources, rich culture and history always make good leaders.

The North East is the richest zone in the country. The exploration of the Mambila Plateau will reveal one of the most natural resources endowed areas of the world. Apart from that, we have many other natural resources that can turn any nation into an economic superpower if harnessed.

We have had Mali and Songhai empires not to talk of the thousand-year-old Kanem Bornu empire. The Adamawa Kingdom is transnational.

When you look at it from the angle of national unity, the bulk of those who fought to keep Nigeria one were also from the Northeast.

Therefore, a North Easterner coming out of such an endowed region will be a blessing to the entire nation.

As we leave this hall, we should all disperse into the nooks and crannies of this blessed country and call all to join us in producing a leader who will salvage this country. Tell them there is a Northeasterner that can.

Thank you.

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Opinion

2023: Let’s Look To The North East, By Hassan Gimba

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2023: Let’s Look To The North East, by Hassan Gimba

If I were to be as sentimental as people are, I would say the North East, my zone, must produce the president in 2023.

Many people fight for their people, region, zone or state to produce the president for various reasons.

Reasons may range from the fact that a president attracts some goodies to his area. Ministers and other chief executives fall over themselves to site projects where the president comes from. Captains of industry, too, are not left behind in the jostle to provide for where the president hails from.

People from the president’s locality also have a false sense of being first-class citizens, oblivious to the fact that those from other areas may end up benefiting more from the administration. Those that would never have been heard of in their lifetime were it not for their association with the president’s roots can become overnight celebrities and points of reference.

For these and many other related mundane concerns of living in a competitive environment where resources are ever dwindling, people can go to any length for theirs to be there.

The concern is not for the nation, nor for the future or the wellbeing of the people. The primary push is self, then tribe. It is so unfortunate, but that is the reality. The religious card too is played, but that too is a complete game of its own. Whether Muslim or Christian, denomination comes in. Just because the other one is your tribe and religion, if he belongs to a denomination you consider hell-bound, then he can be denied anything, including the right to live.

Perhaps these reasons are why many seek political offices and the majority push others to political seats, hoping to reap where they have sowed.

This struggle to get “our share” from the national cake has seen brothers fighting one another, sometimes to the death. Our politics has become a do-or-die affair as buttressed by a one time president when he was seeking re-election. The smart alecs among our political elite have pitched us against ourselves, using our two major fault-lines – religion and region.

Many of us worship clerics and not God. Therefore, some can “remove” or “admit” others into religion as they have appropriated it. Their religion is just in the tongue but not in the hearts. Had we been worshippers of God, the true God, perhaps there would be more peace than we are witnessing. Our other god is the tribe. Some would not mind the country going to blazes as long as one from their tribe is not where they want him to be. That is on the one hand. There are also those who are hell-bent on excluding people from other tribes from the scheme of things, who think what is sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander.

Many of the political elite, as we earlier said, thrive in deceit because if the citizenry knew the truth, their unworthiness would be glaring. They have ensnared and enslaved their people with falsehood even as they think they are thinking freely. They are those who Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (28 August 1749–22 March 1832), the German poet, playwright, novelist, scientist, statesman, theatre director, and critic talked about.

He said, “None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. Masters who rule them with lies have kept from the depth of their minds the truth. They feed them falsehoods till something wrong looks right in their eyes.”

If not, how do you situate the recent statement by Professor Daniel Saror at his 80th birthday celebration in Makurdi to the applause of Governor Samuel Ortom and those who have always been blinded by the rogue elite? Professor Saror was the 7th vice-chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, when ABU Zaria was ABU Zaria. He was also a two-term senator, first in 1999 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and in 2003 under the banner of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP).

One may assume someone of his calibre – and age – will be more circumspect in his utterances, having reached a level to be regarded as an elder statesman. Unfortunately, he unashamedly said, “The insecurity we are experiencing in Benue and Nigeria today is not an accident. It is a planned programme. Boko Haram does not consist of miscreants. They are intelligent people; they are highly connected in Nigeria and other countries in the world and the mission is simple: they want to conquer and Islamise the nation. The Jihadists that you hear about in the North-West are also not miscreants. They are highly connected, highly motivated, and highly experienced in their own (sic) ideas and what they want. They want to spread the caliphate throughout Nigeria.

“The armed Fulani herdsmen and Boko Haram insurgents have contacts that extend to the Middle East, Asia, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia, among others. They are funded in billions of naira to execute the conquest agenda of the caliphate in the country.” Such balderdash!

This is the unfortunate reality of our country. But we can change that; by just getting a listening, considerate, fair-minded and competent leader, all these problems would fizzle out.

A just leader will ensure that each community, each Nigerian, whether or not they voted for him, regardless of whether they belong to the same area with him, whether or not they profess the same religious belief with him, gets their rightful share.

Nigeria will know peace and rapid development, the moment a citizen realises he does not have to fight or follow a shortcut to get his normal entitlements.

Above all, we need someone who can create maximum wealth out of the country’s natural endowments.

As the 2023 race gathers momentum, it becomes incumbent upon us all to scout for, and draft into the race, a man with such qualities. The consideration should not be whether the president is from the North or South, Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo, or that Nigeria now deserves a Northern or Southern president, Hausa, Yoruba or Igbo President. We do not also need a Muslim or Christian president. What Nigeria needs now is a Nigerian president – one that will put Nigeria first above lucre, region, religion and all other affiliations.

As is becoming our political culture, the president of the country is being recruited from among governors or those who were once governors. Maybe as our democracy deepens and matures, the field may expand to include those from the National Assembly, private sector, bureaucrats, etc.

If that is the case, we can safely assume that our next president may come from the current crop of governors, irrespective of whether that person has served just a term or two. There are some among the current crop of governors that have done well. While fulfilling their mandates at state levels, they are also contributing towards national peace and harmony, calming frayed nerves all over the nation, giving everyone and all parts of the country some sense of belonging and thus stabilising the government at the centre. While we have such governors in all the zones, the North East can claim to have the doyen of them all.

However, I do not want to be trapped in the sentiment of promoting a North Easterner for president in 2023 just because it is my region. Rather, I will support the North Easterner because I know he can do it, because I know he is an excellent material, because I know he is competent and can take us out of the woods, not primarily because he is a North Easterner. After all, it is fate that conspired to bring him out of there. I would still have gone for him were he from the South, East or West, Muslim or Christian.

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