The National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Shetima Yerima, has said the North must retain power beyond 2023.
According to him, both the Igbo and the Yoruba of the South East and South West would not be allowed to lead the country in 2023.
He stated this on Monday in an interview with the Vanguard.
Yerima who once led a movement asking all South Easterners to leave the North and known for his controversial stance on national issues also threw a sling at the South Easterners that they are not ready to be president of Nigerian.
“The North will continue ( beyond 2023) and that is our position. We will come up with our candidate and we will lobby the South-East, the South-South and the South-West.
“We will ensure that we have the required number to succeed. If we are talking about equity, former President Jonathan shouldn’t have contested in 2011.”
He pointed out that, “If we are talking about equity and justice, we couldn’t have had former President Obasanjo who had eight years of uninterrupted tenure and subsequently there was an election in 2007 that brought the late President Yar’ Adua, and he was only in power for just one year and some months and he fell sick, and then there was an acting President who later became President and had almost two years and a half in power.
“And, subsequently, there was an election in 2011, and there was an advocacy because some of us saw this coming and we said, ‘look, they should have allowed a northerner going by the party arrangement at that time to still cede power to the North’ but people said blindly that the Constitution is supreme, Jonathan can contest and he did.
“With the power of incumbency, he had his way and came back in 2011. Where is this justice? If you put Obasanjo’s eight years and Jonathan’s almost six years and a half together, it is close to 15 years in favour of the South. We only had our own Buhari who just came for four years and another four years now. If you put Yar’ Adua’s one year and few months together with Buhari’s eight years, we have less than 10 years in power. Where is justice and equity? Where is fairness in the whole of this?
“And as a country, if we truly believe in the spirit of oneness, what is wrong in bringing an understanding that, ‘since Jonathan allowed this to happen, let us cede power to the North without even contesting it in the spirit of fairness and equity, let them have at least a shot after 2023 so that things can be a bit stabilized?’
“Then any other government that comes after 2023, they can complement the efforts of the previous government that would likely put a template so that at least we can reduce this issue of unemployment in the country, we can reduce this issue of daily threats to our lives in terms of banditry, kidnapping and so on.
“If we are practicing democracy, everybody has the right to contest. Things are no longer the way it used to be where some people will just sit down and begin to share the country as if they are sharing a cake and that is why you hardly get the best out of all this sharing arrangement and whatever. We are running a constitutional democracy and people who are competent should come forward and contest no matter where they come from.
“The truth of the matter is that everybody has interest and, for us in the northern part of the country, the issue of rotational presidency has been jettisoned since 2011.
” In fact, I was the first to say we cannot cede power to the South going by party arrangement. The Constitution is supreme. Come forward with your best eleven and we do the same thing too. Democracy is about number. If you have the required number and support, so be it but we will definitely come with our best.
“We will no longer sit down and fold our arms with this situation where nothing has been achieved under this administration and say all is well and let us cede power to the South-East when we know that while our own was in government the whole thing favours South-West and some other parts of the south.
“The North has nothing to show for it and the only thing we see is insecurity. On daily basis we have people dying in their hundreds.
“How many are we in number? If this continues in the next one or two years, you will have nobody to govern again because nobody will even be alive again. Look at the rate of poverty in the North, the insurgency, the kidnapping, everything the way it is?
In the South East, he dismissed their chances saying, “The South-East is not prepared for presidency. If they are prepared, they couldn’t have allowed one of their loose sons to be going about threatening the unity of this country.
“You cannot ask for two things at the same time. If you truly want people to trust you and allow your own to do it, then you could not have allowed somebody to go about threatening the peace of this country, calling for the disintegration of this country and they are watching.
“You cannot continue to be threatening the unity of this country because time has come that you cannot threaten people because you want power, you need to lobby. You cannot look us in the face and abuse the sensibility of all Nigerians and undermine the government and now say because they are scared of you; this is primitive, who is afraid of you?
“Their approach is wrong. If you are seeking for attention; you demand for equity and justice and not threaten the entire country, it is not a good approach and if that is what the South-East is thinking, it is a wrong approach. They should call their own to order and see the way they can also participate politically without threatening the unity of this country then they can get the presidency on a platter of gold.
“But when it comes to threat, Nigeria has overcome that; those are primitive ideas that don’t work anymore. The South-East should have a rethink and change their method. They should re-strategize and work with the Federal Government, work with Nigerians and let us build the country together and that is how it is done anywhere.”