North Central should produce next president – ADP chairman | Dailytrust

North Central should produce next president – ADP chairman

  Yabagi Yusuf Sani, ADP National Chairman
Yabagi Yusuf Sani, ADP National Chairman

In this interview, the National Chairman of the Action Democratic Party (ADP), Yabagi Yusuf Sani, speaks on the the need for the people of the North Central Zone to come together ahead of the 2023 general elections and pursue the presidential seat and on other issues.

Why has the North Central not been able to galvanise as a formidable political force?

The North Central can best be described as the food basket of the nation; with enough to feed this country and export.

For human capital, we have highly educated and skilled professionals.

So, it is the zone that is blessed by whatever yardstick you want to look at it.

This is also the zone that, unfortunately, does not have the kind of cultural organisation that will serve as a platform for its sons and daughters to come together as one irrespective of religion, culture and state.

So, that’s what informed the formation of what we call The Unity Bridge Association of the North Central.

The bridge was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

We have a three-point agenda: cultural integration, economic development and political emancipation.

We considered how we would engage in national politics so that we do not in any way obliterate the unique features of the people of the North Central and be able to take advantage of those features in national negotiations, elections, selections or appointments.

It’s part of the initiatives that led to the formation of ADP. I happen to be the convener and founder of the bridge.

We believe that given our uniqueness, we cannot be subsumed in Arewa Consultative Forum’s (ACF) narratives.

Besides, the country, by convention, has six geopolitical zones.

If we allow ourselves to be subsumed in the so-called North as a bloc without identifying ourselves as one political entity that should be able to stand on its own and fight for itself, then we would have short-changed not only ourselves but also generations unborn.

The bridge has been a very effective tool. However, it is not very vocal as we should have been.

But during the formation, we were very vocal and we believe that time has come when people are, in fact, talking about regions that have not been given chance to provide this country with a civilian administration.

It’s only the North Central that has not been given the opportunity to produce a civilian head of government.


What about Generals Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar?

Yes; we have had military administrators, but the military, it was out of their own adventure. Nobody was consulted.

Now we are talking of merit; people that have skills, track record and experience to give this country the leadership that it deserves.

Unfortunately, it’s not about what you can offer, but where you come from.

So, in addition to the bridge, we have ADP. It is a national party. It is not a North Central political party.

But ADP wouldn’t mind, if we are talking about fairness and equity, to look first at the direction of the North Central and see if we can find somebody that has the merit, what it takes, the wherewithal, the skill, the experience, the focus, the sound mind and the go-getter spirit which Nigerians are yearning for.

I believe ADP will be very happy to give that person the opportunity over and above any other person.


Does the bridge have any other programme apart from 2023?

If at all zoning is about equity and fairness and giving every Nigerian a sense of belonging, then I think this time around it is the turn of the North Central; not any other zone. I can show you a map here.

You can see each zone has had a civilian representation.

The only zone that is yet to produce a president or vice president is the North Central.

So, if zoning in a civilian arrangement is about equity and fairness, the North Central should have it this time.


Are you saying that we should wipe away the memory of military regimes in Nigeria where the North Central featured prominently?

No; other regions had military regimes too.

The South East had Ironsi; South West had Obasanjo; North West had Buhari and Murtala.

The zones are now having civilian administrations and so we too deserve it.


Are members of the bridge solely from your own political party?

No; the bridge was in existence long before ADP. We are three years old.

ADP got its certificate in 2017, but the bridge had been there since 2016.

Just like you have in Afenifere or Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the same thing applies here.

The main objective is how to take from national politics.

How do we provide that platform? That is why we have the bridge so that you from APC, you from PDP, from ADP or whatever party you may belong to; we will sit down once in a while and say what is happening in your party and take advantage of you being there.

We want to from time to time come together; the North Central indigenes from PDP, the ones in APC, the ones in ADP, the ones in whatever other party and strategise.

How do we help you in APC? What do we do to advance your position there so that you can be of more value to the North Central?

How do we collectively help the man in PDP so that he would be more productive to the North Central?

So, these are the reasons why we have the bridge. It is not meant only for ADP.


In a nutshell, is the bridge politically inclined?

Yeah! It is politically, socially and economically inclined.

That is why we have the three-point agenda I mentioned.


So far, what has been the level of your consultation?

The level of consultation is very wide and deep because the bridge has a structure in all the states.

We have chairmen, secretaries and what have you.

They meet from time to time to dialogue and discuss and now consultation is at the highest level.

We have a constitution and a Board of Trustees (BOT) made up of personalities like former governors and senators.

It is an association which time has come because of agitations of restructuring in the country and all other things that are there.


Do you think the governors will give you support?

They have no choice; they don’t have any other region than this and they too will benefit immensely if the people of the zone are united.

It will be to the advantage of the governors because they have political ambitions not only to be in the states but to also play at the national level.

If you are not organised in your zone, how do you play at the national level?

Nobody will reckon with you. So they need it more than any other person.

Perhaps, that’s the reason why you have not heard so much about the North Central Governors Forum (NCGF).

So, this is one of the things that will breathe life into that initiative.

If you are representing your people and you do not meet to exchange ideas and dialogue on national politics, the people will not take you serious.

Let the people know that you are united, then you would be taken seriously.

Whenever elections are taking place in this country, we know where the South West will go, we know where the North West will go, we know where the South East will go, but the North Central people do what they want.

So, we don’t want that to continue.

We want to be an identifiable entity in the political arrangement of Nigeria that has force of action and representation.

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