There are indications that the North is divided over having a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir el-Rufai, and an Action Congress of Nigeria presidential candidate in 2011, Nuhu Ribadu, as presidential candidates of the All Progressive Congress.
Opposition parties – All Nigeria Peoples Party, Action Congress of Nigeria, Congress for Progressive Change and the All Progressive Grand Alliance – which recently announced their merger to form APC, were said to have preferred younger candidates, with el-Rufai and Ribadu in their consideration.
A member of the CPC, who recently spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH, had said, “We are working on a plan B. If Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) does not contest, the party will shift attention to younger candidates.
“Our search will be extended to non-politicians, including young technocrats from the North. El-Rufai and Ribadu will be among the pool of candidates who will be screened.”
The Arewa Youth Forum has however said youth support for the duo might not be automatic, noting that that both Ribadu and el-Rufai were far from events at the grass roots.
National President, AYF, Mr. Yerima Shettima, told our correspondent in an interview that, “the two have a lot of work to do because they are not in touch with the reality in the North. Neither Ribadu nor el-Rufai is in touch with the youth in the northern part of the country.
“They live all their lives in the capitalist world; they are not in touch with the reality of things. It’ll take them a lot of time to build the confidence of the youth in the northern part of the country.
According to the group, el-Rufai and Ribadu are far from the grassroots. “Neither el-Rufai nor Ribadu has done anything meaningful to the well-being of northern youth. As far as I am concerned, they are not popular. They are only known at the national level by the elite and they make their contributions within the confinement of the elitist setting.
“When it comes to the grass roots level, coupled with the situation of northern youths, I don’t think they have much to say. It is a process; I will not conclude that they won’t have the support of northern youth but they need a lot of work; they need to face the realities on the ground,” Shettma added.
However, The North’s apex body, Arewa Consultative Forum, the youth should share in the blame of misrule of Nigeria.
The forum said the youth had continued to blame older politicians for the nation’s woes, while feigning ignorance of the fact that most past leaders ruled the country when they were under 50 years old.
National Publicity Secretary of the forum, Anthony Sani, told our correspondent that there was no correlation between good leadership and age.
He said, “You may wish to know that the youth are part of the problem. This is because they are more in number and so are in position to produce leaders of their choice for the country in a democracy.
“Yet, they are the ones who snatch ballot boxes, who thump print ballot papers and who change results. Consequently, feckless leaders emerge.
We cannot forget the truism that when people do not make judicious use of their democratic rights to elect leaders of their choice, they get the leadership they deserve.”