An old video of Hakeem Baba–Ahmed, the spokesperson of Northern Elders Forum (NEF), where he stated that the northern parts of the country would always lead Nigeria and not settle for second-class position, is making rounds on the internet.
In the video, Baba-Ahmed slammed southern elders for what he described as threat that presidency must be zoned to the southern parts of the country in 2023.
Obviously, the clamour for southern presidency has intensified recently with some elder statesmen in the Southern parts of the country canvassing for a return of power to the region.
Their clamour was rooted in the belief that zoning would make the South-East feel belonged and facilitate the continuity of Nigeria as a unified entity.
Specifically, Afenifere, a Pan-Yoruba sociopolitical group, has consistently argued that it was moral to return presidency to the South-East in 2023, stressing that anything short of that portended disaster.
However, the Northern Elders Forum spokesman resurrected a counter-argument that the power would be retained in the North, contrary to the principle of rotation upon which Nigeria’s return to democracy was based.
He said: “Whether we are president or not, we will lead Nigeria. Not because we are better than anybody else, but because in a democratic game, you vote for whom you want. We have the majority. Why do we need to accept a second-class position when we can get and fight for a first-class person?
“Why does anybody need to threaten us, cajole us and intimidate us? ‘If you don’t bring the presidency here, you’ll see.’ What will we see? We want to see. The north will not be allowed to play a second fiddle. No!
“The rule says vote for candidates of your choice. If they don’t like that Northerner would emerge as president, that’s their problem. If we want to support a southerner in our own interest, we will. And we can decide for ourselves. We don’t need anybody to do that for us.”