…demand Ex-VP jettison presidential ambition
…want power shift to South
Ahead of 2023 presidential elections, anti-Atiku protests erupted, Monday, in Lagos, Adamawa, Kaduna, Plateau, Benue, and Kaduna States, demanding the former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar, jettison his presidential ambition.
The protesters are former support groups for Atiku’s presidential bid in 2019, who said they are not supporting him this time around rather he shouls shelf the ambition for the South East region to emerge as Nigeria’s president come 2023.
In a statement jointly signed by the National Coordinator and National Secretary, For North 4 North Support Group for Atiku, Mohammed Garba and Abubakar Sanni, respectively and read during the protest in Kaduna pointed that the former VP should have a rethink of his ambition.
The statement reads in part, “We for our part, have promoted the candidature of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for years, but we humbly call on the former vice president to do us a good turn in return for the many good turns we have done for him. We have sacrificed a lot pushing for the presidency of Atiku Abubakar all these years, even though we have been abandoned by him after each election cycle, it is time for him to project national interest outside of his need to become president. At almost 80years, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar does not have enough in the tank to put in the high level of physical and mental effort required to fix Nigeria.
“We must give all parts of Nigeria a chance to become president of the country, or we might slide dangerously into the narratives of divisionists enemies of the state who will have a ready recruitment pool from among disgruntled groups.
“Only one region in Nigeria has not been given a chance to take the presidency of Nigeria and it is only fair that 2023 almost a quarter of a century into our current democratic system the south east is reminded that they just as Nigerian as the rest of us.
“Fairness and equity is the major ingredient for sustainability of any society as history has clearly shown and Nigeria can be no exception to this clear and present rule of nation building; when a society begins to deviate from the principle of fairness and equity, it declines and slides down the rabbit hole of oblivion.
“The presidency cannot also afford to go to an older candidate, considering the enormity of the demands of the job in the 21st century, where there are series of factors playing into a tectonic shift in economic centers of gravity, coupled with the many challenges confronting Nigeria that requires a proactive person with energy to cope with the rigors of office.
“It is the unanimous position of Nigerians, as deduced from the sampling of opinions through our consultations on the subject matter thus far, that the presidency should go to a younger candidate in tune with the realities within which we exist in today’s world and capable of making decisions at the pace required there from.
“The southeast deserves the presidency of Nigeria come 2023, and we must narrow down our focus to searching for the best candidate from the region, rather than allowing the public discourse space to be crowded by a cacophony of distractions that will end up robbing us of the very best of us. No doubt politics is important as development can only take place in an atmosphere of peace, confidence and sense of belonging in the system.
“The only way forward for Nigeria is forward and we can’t afford to go back to the old ways of choosing presidents from certain parts of the country, to the exclusion of others.
“As a group based in the north, it is the dream of the founding fathers for the country to be united. We are, in the spirit of that unity, reaching out to our brothers and sisters in the south and assuring them of our commitment to stand side by side with them to achieve this goal in the interest of Nigeria’s future.”
Also another group, South West Development Frontiers, SWDF, during the protest in a statement with subject ‘Atiku Abubakar Should Drop His Presidential Ambition for the Sake of Nigeria’s Unity’ signed by Convener, SWDF, Olufemi Osabinu, and Co-Convener, SWDF, Olufemi Lawson respectively.
The group said, “As the 2023 general elections, which will witness the election of a new President beckons: The need for justice and equity, becomes an inevitable task, for every Nigerian of good conscience.
“As the nation looks forward to the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent President Muhammad Buhari and warms up for the 2023 Presidential election, we must be conscious of our place in history, and as patriotic citizens, to demand for equity and fairness, as a step, towards consolidating, on our firm commitment, to the unity of Nigeria.
“To this end, we are as a generation, demanding that former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, and his promoters, bring a close to the perpetual ambition of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to be President of Nigeria.
“No only did we find insensitive, the quest to retain power in the North but it is also self serving and unjust, after President Muhammadu Buhari would have completed an eighth year term as the President of Nigeria, from the same Northern zone of the country.
“Over the time, we have been at the forefront of the call, for political parties in the country, to have their Presidential Ticket, zoned to the Southern part of the country, for the sake of equity and justice.
“We do not only want to appeal to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to drop his Presidential ambition, we are also reminding politicians who are canvassing for his presidency, to realize that they are trying to perpetuate injustice, which is against the unity of our country.
“Furthermore we make a clear and undiluted call on former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to give second thoughts to his desire to contest for the office of president in the elections again in 2023. While Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has served the with distinction, as evidenced in the fact that we have been his supporters for years, it is also undeniable that at 77 years of age going into this race, it will be a mismatch of national priorities to support his quest, taking into consideration the unique interplay of circumstances currently confronting our country.
“Nigeria needs a young and more energetic unifier, who will be able to handle the rigors of being physically present in crises spots to make the physical and psychological statement of government being in charge and committed to finding lasting solutions to our national challenges.
“It is our humble appeal, that every Nigerian, including politicians from the south, rallies their support for a formidable candidate of Igbo extraction, as the next president of Nigeria.”
Another group, the Middle Belt Network for Atiku, MBNA, in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, said during their protest pointed that a matter of common sense that the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has to returns to the southern part of Nigeria especially the region of eastern extraction.
The statement which was signed by its National President, Luka Pam, and Secretary General, Madaki Yakubu, also argued that a survey it conducted indicated that in 2023 and beyond two major conclusions emerged, which are age and power shift to the southeast.
The statement reads in part, “Today, we have come out in our numbers as organization members from different parts of this state, and indeed other parts of the north central, to put our position in the public domain, to guide some who are seeking to profit from being in and around the corridors of power at the expense of the Nigerian people. Today, we make it clear that the Nigerian people are savvier than ever before and would not tolerate any recycled leaders or ideas in the 2023 general elections.
“Our argument about, who leads us in 2023 and beyond, having conducted an integrated and comprehensive opinion survey over the last six months, incorporating multiple data sources and collection methods, is rested on two planks namely: age and power shift to the southeast. Any candidates that fail to meet these criteria should not even bother to waste scarce resources or vital energy as their aspirations are dead on arrival, while the search for the best candidates will be within the framework of a young and south easterner.
“We are well aware that some are already positioning themselves, from the north, to run for the office of the president and commander in chief of the federal republic of Nigeria. It must be made clear that it is the right of every Nigerian who has attained the age and meets the other requirements to seek to serve as president of his or her country, but as a country that has to marry so many interests, there are certain principles and precedents in morality and equity that have defined how presidents emerge.
“It is a matter of common sense that the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has to returns to the southern part of Nigeria especially the region of eastern extraction, while those of northern extraction should support an eastern candidate, to pave way for justice and equity within our nation. Until we are able to fashion out a more solidified democracy, we need to maintain the zoning arrangement to promote national unity and peaceful coexistence. We are in an emergency and the 2023 election is not the time to gamble or play games with the collective destiny of Nigerians.
“As supporters of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, we are also conscious of the fact that this position goes against the interest of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to run for office again in 2023. We take this position clear in our minds that we are first of all Nigerians and then democrats; knowing that democracy is about the interest of the larger whole over individuals and sub-groups. We further call on Atiku Abubakar, who at 77years of age is no longer the man he was a few years ago, to can his ambition and support a younger the southeast region that has never produced a president of Nigeria, in the interest of national unity and cohesion going forward.
“It is on record, and we stand to be corrected on this, that Atiku Abubakar never uttered a word when Fulani killing of our people was raging and at its peak. We therefore renounce our support for Alhaji Atiku.”