Apparently worried over the inevitability of the north losing power in 2015 due to lack of peace and unity among the people in the region, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has called for political strategies that would put the area in strong position of strength to secure some favourable advantage to negotiate with other regions.
It has therefore, asked politicians in the area who nurse presidential ambition to tarry- a -while, before embarking on their campaigns as such activities could compound the bad situation. The ACF’s position is coming against the backdrop of opposition against zoning by the Jigawa State Governor, Sule Lamido.
The ACF which is the umbrella association of all socio-political groups in the north, made this known in a communique after an emergency meeting of its National Executive Council, NEC, and the Board of Trustees in Abuja yesterday, even as they expressed solidarity with Kogi State over its dispute with Anambra and Enugu States over the oil finds along the border areas of the three states.
The meeting was called to receive and consider the Road Map for Peace, Unity and Development of Northern Nigeria, which was the product of resolutions of the Arewa Conference on Peace and Unity held in December last year.
The communique which was signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Anthony Sani noted that the divided Northern Nigeria needed peace and unity if it was to compete as an entity in the larger Nigerian federation, adding that the task of uniting the zone needed the support of all its stakeholders.
The communique further read, “While the Forum supports any political strategies that would put the North in a position which will enable it negotiate with other sections of the country from a position of strength and secure some favourable terms, it was the considered view of the Forum that it is too early to start full-fledged political activities for 2015.
’"This is because such early start is capable of detracting from the task of governance at our collective peril. "Concerning the controversy on the oil finds among states of Anambra, Enugu and Kogi, the meeting heard a briefing from a delegation from Kogi State.
“The Forum then asked the people of the states concerned not to be agitated unduly, precisely because both the offices of the Surveyor General and the National Boundaries Commission are there to resolve boundary disputes. “And that the Forum would stand by people of Kogi state for what is legally due and payable to them.”
Meanwhile, the Jigawa State Governor, Dr Lamido, has said that he feels flattered by the story linking him with the 2015 presidential ambition, pointing out that he did not believe in the zoning of the coveted position. According to Lamido, “Neither zoning nor whatever is the answer. What we really need in this country is for people to believe in themselves and their leaders for things to work well.
“By the time every Nigerian develops confidence in each other, trusts each other and supports one another then who becomes the president or governor would be immaterial. Because we have a rich culture with poor people and because the resources of this country have not been properly applied we think it is the system which is denying us what we really need as a people.’’
Lamido, who is a founding member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, however did not confirm or deny speculations about his alleged presidential ambition.
A section of the media had last month reported that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, had anointed Lamido to run with the Rivers State Governor, Chubuike Amaechi, as the PDP presidential and vice-presidential candidates in 2015; causing ripples in the political circle.
However, Obasanjo promptly denied the report, saying that he had not endorsed anyone for the election. This was even as people in the 27 local government areas of the Jigawa State reportedly went into wild jubilation, over the news report, contending that their governor had done well and needed to replicate his development strides across the country. But, Lamido told newsmen that he was surprised when the speculation became a public debate in the country.
The governor said, “To be honest with you, I feel flattered that in a country with over 160 million Nigerians, my humble self from a small village in Jigawa State is being talked about. Secondly, the issue of leadership in this country is something which is within the exclusive preserve of God, who gives power to whoever He wants at the time He chooses.”
Those who are here now were not there 10 years ago and those who were there some years ago are no longer here. So no matter what happens someone will be in an office and a Nigerian must be there. And so, to me what matters is: let God give to Nigeria what is best for her and it does not matter who he is. It could be any Nigerian.”
Reacting to claims that opposition parties were already regrouping to oust the PDP in 2015, Lamido dismissed the perceived strength of the other parties are non-existent. According to him, the PDP would continue to wax stronger since most of the so-called members of the opposition did not have active and committed members across the country like his party.
Scoffing at the opposition, he asked rhetorically, ‘’which are the parties in this country that are threatening ours? I do not see any threat from anywhere. Which of them is really an opposition party? None. In 1999, it was only PDP, APP and AD. Today it is only PDP and other formations. Ten years after it is only PDP and other later inventions. They are all inventions made up of persons who have failed in the PDP and other parties and thrown out as garbage.”
He also said that his administration spent over 65 percent of its monthly allocation of about N3 billion on recurrent services but vowed not to borrow a dime to execute any project. He stated that he had so far managed to provide the critical infrastructure that would propel the state towards industrialization and progress with the resources at his disposal.
“I am always conscious of the fact that if I begin to take loans it might be difficult for my successor to grapple with the development of the state. hat is why I have made it a policy that by the time I leave office, I will not leave behind a single kobo as debt. I do not see any justification in borrowing money. Why should I eat into the income of the next governor?” he added.