Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has said that, the north is not for sale and that Northerners are not second clas citizens of Nigeria, as such the North will not accept to serve as a second fidle when the region has the population to go the first position and win.
Dr. Baba-Ahmed stated this at the weekend at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria while delivering a keynote address at the inaugural edition of Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series organized by the students wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG).
While charging the students to be proud of who they are as Northerners, he also challenged them not to accept being treated as second-class citizens in their own country.
Speaking about the 2023 general elections and the agitations for power shift to the South, Baba-Ahmed said, heaven will not fall if a northern is again elected the next President of Nigeria.
He stressed further that, 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, adding that, anyone who does not want a northerner as President should leave the country if one emerges.
According to him, “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. 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 clearly Nigerians who believed that because the economy of the North has already been crumbled; we are running away from insecurity, we are politically vulnerable, they think they can buy us for 2023 they are making a mistake.
“The North has pride, we are humble enough to know that we are going to run Nigeria with other people but we are not going to pay a second fidle to any body. We may not have the most robust economy, there are people who are trying to strangulate us even more than we are being strangulated.
“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.
“Whether the North holds power in 2023 or not anybody who wants to break up in this country will say so, they are just looking for excuses. This is democracy if they don’t like what Nigeria is they will say they want to break up from this country, we don’t pay attention to those people, we are focused on the fact that we are running a democratic system.
“If majority of Nigeria voters vote for candidate from the North and he becomes the President and somebody doesn’t want to live under Nigeria President, the person can leave.
“We inherited the North that determined where Nigeria went, we dropped the ball and we are leaving you to pick it, we are sorry, the North needs young people to be strong enough.
“A northerner is a respectable Nigerian, we can live with our poverty but we cannot live with sense of disrespect and anybody who toys with our respect, we fight them to the end. We will surprise them in 2023 because we will vote for who we want including the Northerners and nothing will happen. If we choose to vote for a northerner, the heavens will not fall, we will choose who we want in this country.
“The North is not for sale, our legacy is not for sale; if there are Nigerians who are thinking that in 2023 we will line up because they will give us money, they are making a terrible mistake because the North is not for sale; our future is not for sale, we have learnt fron our mistakes and we will not repeat those mistakes again.
“We don’t need anybody to tell us that kidnappers are northerners; northerners have to fight people who are destroying the North. We have to be honest, if the government cannot protect us let them say so. Once we understand who we are and where we are, we can move forward, if we are not strong enough now, let us build that strength,” he said.
He also charged the youths and students to be active in politics, saying that, “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 southern we will support a southern because that will be in our own interest and we can decide for ourselves”.
Also speaking at the event, a Commissioner in the Police Service Commission (PSC) Hajia Naja’atu Bala Muhammad challenged the youths to stop being intellectually lazy and selling their rights to leadership for peanuts.
She said, most of the great leaders Nigeria has produced stepped into leadership positions as youths, hence the youth of today must grow up and stop the idea of waiting for the elders to do everything for them.
Earlier, the Lecturer at the event, Dr. Riyahuddeen Zubair Maitama, who spoke on ‘Ethical Reorientation for Positive Attitudinal Change: An Urgent National Imperative’, said, ethical decay has adversely inhibited the sustainable development of virtually all sectors in Nigeria.
He therefore called for urgent ethical reorientation for positive attitudinal change among Nigerians both the governors and the governed especially the youth on whose shoulder the future of the country rests.
The Guest Lecturer stressed the need for the Media to play critical role in enlightening the public on the overall effect of negative values and need for hard-work, fair play, self-employment and law abiding citizens.
Maitama also called for a strong political will by the leaders to remain neutral in the fight against unethical behaviors and corruption, noting that, such will help in strengthening the institutions in the discharge of their functions.
Personalities who graced the occasion include, the Chairman board of trustees of the CNG, Dr Nastura Ashir Sheriff, professor Idris Mohammed, Rev. Bitrus Dangiwa, Dr Abubakar Sadiq among several others.