Chairman, Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi has said the North will not vote along ethnic and faith lines in the 2023 general election.
Speaking as the convener of Northern People’s Summit on Barriers Between the People and Their Leaders yesterday in Kaduna, he said the people of the region had learnt their lesson at a great cost.
“No Northerner should assume that he is guaranteed the support and votes of northerners simply because he is one of them,” he said.
Abdullahi who was represented by Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed said experiences have taught the region the values of critical scrutiny of records, dispositions and empathy.
The NEF chairman said politicians that will be voted for must have the socio-economic development plans for the northerners irrespective of tribe and religion, adding that those who care for the people before, during and after election will have the votes.
He said the North must, “think out of the box and elect new sets of leaders who will do a lot better than the current ones.”
Prof Ango advised those agitating to go their separate ways to have a re-think, saying that secession is not a solution to any grievance.
He called on the federal government to take threat of separation with all the seriousness it deserves.
“Northern voters have supported three Southerners; Abiola, Obasanjo and Jonathan to victory in the past, two of them against northerners. Northern voters are enlightened and conscious of their responsibilities.
“They have learnt, perhaps at greater cost than most Nigerians, that ethnicity and faith alone do not make good leaders. They will not accept to be further weakened so that they abandon the same rights all Nigerians enjoy,” he said.
“Using restructuring as a threat or bargaining tool for accepting zoning will destroy the imperatives of restructuring and imperil the country,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Sen. Ibrahim Ida said, “The North is at crossroad. We really need internal cohesion through elite consensus of what the North stands for the resources available and what we want to achieve. We have enemies within, we need to turn them around and make then see things our own way. There is absence of inclusion in the way we run our affairs.”