- The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) denies asking politicians above 70 years old not to seek election in 2019
- The CNG says it fully supports restructuring, but with a condition that those to represent the region in debates should be between 18 and 60
- The group says its decision is for older men who have been speaking for many years to take the backseat henceforth
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has denied discussing the political ambitions of people over 70 years of age when they met for two days at the Arewa House, Kaduna to discuss issues of urgent national importance like restructuring.
The coalition, which is an umbrella of various northern bodies, said it never discussed the personal ambitions of President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar as widely reported on Tuesday, May 22.
Instead, it said it supported restructuring of the country but that those from the northern extraction to represent the region on debates relating to the issue should not be above 60 years old.
In a statement by Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, its spokesperson, the group said: “At the end of our two-day summit at Arewa House, Kaduna, a five-page communiqué was read by our spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in which we categorically stated that the north fully supports the restructuring of the country and shall be prepared to represent itself in any debate thereon.
“Our coalition said the north supported structural reforms, with certain conditions. One of the terms was that those who will carry the banner to any future discussion with regards to Nigerian federal arrangement should be within the 18 to 60 years bracket.
“We said this out of a patriotic conviction that the older men who have been speaking and running the country since independence should cease to take the front seats at such national discourses.
“The coalition was however quite surprised by some reports by a section of the media tending to suggest that we have asked certain aspirants to the 2019 presidency to shelve their ambition.
“We wish to respond here, that at no time did the individual aspiration of any politician ever came up at our two-day summit nor was it mentioned anywhere in the communiqué we read.”
In the statement obtained by NAIJ.com, the coalition said its communiqué essentially concentrated on the issue of restructuring. “Nowhere, and at no time, did we discuss such matters as the 2019 presidency.”
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The group said the summit came up as a result of calls from several quarters in “the last six months asking for our position on the issue of restructuring.
“In answer to those calls, we mandated a committee to sample the pulse of northern Nigeria in that respect.
“The committee, after contacting stakeholders across all shades of interest in the north, reported that the North favours restructuring of the country.
“Having said this, we finally caution media practitioners in the country to stick to the professional ethics of accurate reporting of events and avoid unnecessary sensational overkill.”
NAIJ.com had quoted a report saying the Coalition of Northern Groups met in Kaduna state asking President Muhammadu Buhari and former vice president Atiku Abubakar, who are above 70 years, to stop contesting the presidency of the country in 2019.
The report had said that the group stated this in a communique it issued after the meeting of its members on Monday, May 22 saying leaders who should not run again are those who actually put the country in its current sorry state.
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