ACF and Ohanaeze set justice and equity as criteria for 2023 presidency

As presidential candidates continue to court Nigeria’s top leaders for the seat ahead of the 2023 general election, prominent regional socio-cultural bodies have urged the country’s “kingmakers” to ensure they are guided by justice and equity.

Specifically, they referred to former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former military president, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, and former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Over the past few months, the homes of these three former Nigerian leaders had become something of a mecca for presidential aspirants since the 2023 presidential race began in earnest.

Speaking exclusively with LEADERSHIP on what Nigerians should expect from these eminent leaders, the Igbo apex socio-cultural organization Ohanaeze Ndigbo said senior statesmen should prioritize justice and justice. equity before 2023.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo National Publicity Secretary Alex Ogbonnia said: “Apart from endorsement, Obasanjo and others should talk to other leaders to ensure that the person who emerges in 2023 will actualize the justice and fair play.”

For its part, the northern socio-cultural group at the top, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), said that beyond endorsing candidates, leaders should remain statesmen.

The forum’s spokesperson, Emmanuel Yawe said: “The ACF cannot speak for these people. They have their spokespersons and also always speak for themselves. What the ACF expects of them is that they remain statesmen and nothing more before the 2023 elections”.

Furthermore, the Movement for the Survival of the Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND) said the former leaders should discuss how to unite Nigerians rather than endorsing candidates for the 2023 general elections.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt, MOSIEND General Chairman Kennedy Tonjo West questioned why former leaders were hesitant to lead Nigerians on the path to unity.

West said, “Right now it seems to us that these ancient statesmen, the Abdulsalami Abubakars, the Babangidas, the Obasanjos and the Gowons are not talking about how to unite this country.

“And the only way to unite this country is to bring justice to such oppressed regions. All are in the gate room. Yet they avoid telling Nigerians what to do.

The MOSIEND leader called for the abandonment of the 1999 constitution and the drafting of a new constitution, insisting that the existing laws were imposed on Nigerians.

He said: “Our view of national leaders giving an endorsement to one politician or the other is not what is going to solve the problem.

“There should be no elections in 2023 until the 1999 constitution, which was imposed on Nigerians, is scrapped and a new constitution is drafted which will deal with the constitutional anomalies, the constitutional frictions that are tearing this country.

“We have problems with restructuring everywhere, we have problems with Biafra wanting secession, and we have problems with Oduduwa wanting a country of their own.”

For its part, the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) has urged leaders, especially those in the extraction of the North, to ensure transfers of power to the South.

LEADERSHIP reports that although not explicitly stated in the constitution, Nigeria shares power between North and South, Christians and Muslims.

Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, who is of northern Muslim background, will complete a two-year eight-year term by 2023.

But the interest of politicians from all parts of the country, especially those in the north to succeed Buhari, is causing concern.

While Southern governors under Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akerodolu said the South must produce Buhari’s successor, some northerners, especially politicians, viewed the comment as insulting. , insisting that since they have the population and the voting strength, power should stay in the North.

Speaking to LEADERSHIP, the Chairman of the Middle Belt Forum (MBF), Dr. Bitrus Pogu, warned that if Nigerian leaders did not step in and power did not shift to the South, it would affect the unity of the country.

“The leader and a statesman are supposed to lead the people to the path of justice and fair play,” Pogu said, adding that if Abdulsalami, BWI and Gowon do not prevail over extraction politicians from the North to bury their pro-South presidential ambition in the 2023 general election, it will affect the unity of Nigeria.

“They have to look at the issues, analyze them and see what will bring peace and progress,” Pogu told former Nigerian leaders.

He continued, “We have looked passionately at the Nigerian situation. Insecurity In the North, the economy has gone bad, we hope that entrepreneurs will come to solve the problem.

“If a northerner is here and the north is plagued by insecurity, we need someone from the south who will deliver justice. We need someone who won’t be a nepotist or a tribalist. We need someone who will look at the problem as a leader. We know that as a country, some sections have had bad luck in the presidency.

“We need to look at this unlucky region and select someone credible from there. We want the issue of rotation of power to continue.

“We have said here that by 2023 the presidency should go to the South. In the South, people know that the Southeast is the most marginalized. Our own goal is to suggest, shout and contribute. But at the end of the day, whoever is selected from the South should be the next president.”

According to him, as Abdulsalami, BWI and Gowon continue to receive presidential candidates across the country, they should be told the truth that power should shift to the South.

“In their endorsement, Gowon, IBB and Abdulsalami should make sure they tell candidates that power should go to the South. They are older statesmen and we believe they mean good for the country. We believe they will ensure that Nigeria remains indivisible and peaceful”.

He further noted that if power goes to the South, many Nigerians will believe in the unity of the country. It’s not just about the population. It’s about training everyone and all regions of the country. It is time that we continue to seek unity.

Meanwhile, former Kaduna State Deputy Governor James Bawa Magaji said the rotation of power was unconstitutional, insisting that anyone interested in the seat should be allowed to stand. run for president in 2023.

In an exclusive interview with LEADERSHIP, Magaji recalled that Moshood Abiola won the 1993 presidential election not because of zoning.

Magaji said, “I don’t believe in zoning because it’s not democratic. It’s a scheme that robs Peter to pay Paul. After all, Abiola won the elections in 1993, not on the basis of zoning, but on his broad acceptability across Nigeria.

“The same goes for President Muhammadu Buhari, who won the elections due to his wide acceptability and his supporters across the country. Presiding in Nigeria is not a cakewalk. Therefore, anyone wants to be president must undertake an internal ability test. And if he has what it takes, he should run for president, regardless of his background. This will probably bring the person a positive result rather than a zoning which has no general guarantees for voters,” Magaji said.

Magaji who notes that in a democracy every person, people and group has the right to vote and be elected tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with ensuring the conduct of a credible election in 2023.

While calling on Nigerians regardless of region to participate fully in the upcoming elections, he said they should vote for people of integrity.

“Nigerians must vote for people who can do the job. We must never again go down the path of voting based on non-entitical, silly overriding grounds. Ethnicity, religion, section and all these feelings have never led us anywhere other than heartbreak, tears and death,” Magaji added.

Elna M. Lemons