The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) has sounded a warning to President Goodluck Jonathan, telling him that he would have to contend with a unified north should he insist on seeking another term in 2015.
NEF spokesman, Prof Ango Abdullahi, gave this warning yesterday in Kaduna during an exclusive interview with our correspondent.
Commenting on why the north is putting its act together in order to present a formidable team, Abdullahi said, “We are trying now to unify our people (northerners) that have been divided along ethnic and religious lines in the last two years.
And very soon you will hear the north talking from one platform.
“President Jonathan should just be ready to either park out or jump out of Aso Rock. He should be ready to fight a unified north in 2015.”
He further expressed the group’s belief that the insurgency in the north was being fuelled as a strategy to stigmatise the region.
“From all indications, the president has already stigmatised some parts of the country as being Boko Haram, and that everything about the violence in the north must be Boko Haram, but we know that the original Boko Haram by Mohammed Yusuf is not solely responsible for all the bombings that have been taking place.
“The Boko Haram syndrome may be a strategic plan to portray the north as morally unfit to rule; it is also a strategic plan to divide the country along north and south, or along religious and ethnic lines,” he said, adding that those behind such evil act would regret their actions in due time.
Abdullahi, a former vice chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zarai, further claimed that President Jonathan was always known as somebody who likes to take sides.
According to him, “Jonathan is only a theoretical president of Nigeria; but, practically, he has demonstrated that he is a president of a section of the country. He has always spoken in defence of his Niger Delta people. He is always fond of exonerating his people.
“You can see a president exonerating a criminal such as the October 1 bombings in 2010. He has also come out to say that Boko Haram has infiltrated his government, and that Boko Haram members are in his government, the Army, the Police and even in the Villa. This we know is a strategy to stigmatise any candidate from the north come 2015.”
On whether Jonathan should contest the 2015 presidential election, Abdullahi said, “Whether Jonathan is free to contest the 2015 election or not is the business of Bamagan Tukur; all we are hoping is that he is not speaking on behalf of the people of the north.
“If Bamagan Tukur is familiar with the history of zoning by his party since 1999, one would be surprised that Bamagan Tukur, who comes from this part of the country, is talking about Jonathan contesting election in 2015. But then, that is the business of the PDP.
The people of north would certainly take a decision to bring a consensus candidate come 2015.” He further argued that the region should be allowed to conclude its eight years and anything short of that would not be acceptable.
“The north gave former President Olusegun Obasanjo his full eight years; it is only normal that the north should be allowed to conclude our eight years, started by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua,” he said.
On Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu’s insistence that President Jonathan had signed a one-term agreement, Abdullahi said that the governor’s revelation may be have emanated from the pressure being mounted on the governors by the northerners.
“Thank God, Babangida has revealed that there was a pact between the governors and Jonathan that they would support him in 2011 election on condition that he will only do one term.
It is now time for other northern governors to follow suit because there will be more pressure from northerners. They have to come together and listen to the voice of the people,” he added.