Written by Emmanuel Ogbeche

2019: North mulls presidential candidates

As momentum for 2019 general election gathers steam, politicians and elders of northern extraction converged on Abuja on Saturday, under the aegis of Northern Elders and Stakeholders Conversation, to mull on strategies and preferred presidential candidates.

At the meeting co-convened by a former Minister of Defence, Bello Mohammed, a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, and Paul Wampana, a former senator, they explained that it was time for the north to ‘give Nigeria those they consider fit and capable of being president.”

According Mohammed, a former acting national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said that for the north to attain the desired unity, deliberate measures should be taken towards forging a strong bond on solidarity among the political class.

He said it had become critical to establish a wide and enduring political network and channel of communication for consultations and dialogue among the apparatus and leadership of all the various northern political elite.

“This will reduce acrimony and conflict; and conversely create trust among the northern political elite and facilitate the attainment of the set goals—cultural and political unity of the north.

“It is our unity in the north that can facilitate and give legitimacy to our alliance with the south to provide the required leadership to move this country forward.

“From what is apparent in the political arena today, it is clear that the major political operators have agreed that in the forthcoming 2019 election, it is the turn of the north to produce the president.

“Therefore, there is a need to partner with brothers and sisters from other regions to ensure that, this time around, the leadership that shall emerge is one that can unite and develop our country with equity, justice and peace for all; this is the main objective of this meeting,’’ he said.

Also, elder statesman and Chairman of the meeting, Tanko Yakasai, said it had become urgent for elite of the north to stand up in unity and save Nigeria from instability.

He said that the conversation, though political, was non-partisan and not a prelude to the formation of a political party.

According to him, the conversation represents all shades of political opinions, ethnic and religious diversities of the north.



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