Kabiru Ande, Abuja
A member of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Alhaji Seidu Baba, has said that the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is not and cannot be the candidate of the North.
The Northern Elder stated this to journalists at the 10th Anniversary of the NEF, which held recently in Abuja.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President, allegedly has been scheming to be endorsed as the sole candidate of the North.
However, the Northern Elder said there is no such thing, as Northerners do not believe in Atiku’s candidature. He dismissed the insinuation that the NEF 10th Anniversary was to adopt Atiku as consensus candidate for the North.
To buttress the views of some persons that Atiku was to be adopted as consensus candidate, his seat at the function was labeled number one. This led to many people raising objections on the NEF trying to give Atiku a special treatment.
But the NEF refused to endorse Atiku as the sole candidate of Northern Nigeria. It is believed Atiku got wind of his rejection, the reason he failed to show up at the NEF Assembly and could not send any representative.
The Northern Elder said that Atiku has no credentials to be a sole Northern presidential candidate.
According to him, the former Vice President had not related with the North as someone who has respect or cares for the region.
He said: “Atiku has not been seen as somebody who is closed to the North because he has not been fair to us, he is somebody having his base outside the North.
“In 1999 during a book launch at Arewa House in Kaduna, Sa’adu Zungur written by Prof. M.A. Yakubu, the current Chairman of INEC, Atiku as the Vice President of Nigeria was supposed to be the most Senior political office holder from the North in the Federal Government as at that time but he at the occasion condemned all northern Leaders and Elders. In his speech, he told his bewildered audience that Northern Leaders and Elders were the people who failed the North and the nation. He said they were the ones that had caused the problems. That was the beginning of his problems in the North.”
Secondly, over the last two decades all the problems that have been happening in the North-East (where he claims to have come from) especially Adamawa, Borno, Yobe and the rest, nobody has seen Atiku’s intervention visibly in solving the problems. Even General TY Danjuma had done much more better than him in this respect.
“All the crises that used to happen in either Onitsha or other places in the South-East or South-West affecting Northerners, he (Atiku) has never gone there to show empathy or give succour to the people who lost their lives and properties. His only desperate objective is to become the President of Nigeria, that’s all. That is why in his obsession and carelessness as a Vice President he came out to challenge the candidature of his own Principal, a Military officer and a General who brought him into the Government from wilderness. That shows he has never been in fidelity with anybody and from that time he moved from one party to another. If people move from one party to another on principle, there is no problem but for Atiku the driving force is how to become a President of Nigeria anyhow.
“Over the years, he has contested against his juniors and against his seniors. It could be recalled Atiku contested against Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua a brother to his benefactor; he contested against General Ibrahim Babangida; he contested against General Muhammed Gusau; he contested against General Muhammadu Buhari (several times) and now he is contesting against Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso. If truly he believes in the North and cares for the Northern people why must he embark on the voyage of political desperation?”
“The attempt to cajole and even force the NEF to adopt him, shows how desperate he is. Many people believe even though the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-rufai, was condemning Northern elders, it is believed his real target was Atiku Abubakar. There is no way that Atiku can be a Northern candidate because he does not know them and we do not know him.”
Another Northern Elder who did not want his name mentioned had this to say: “Northerners and all Nigerians should take seriously the Abuja Declaration of the NEF. In that declaration, the North was concerned about getting a Leader that approximates the Vision, Mission and core values of the first Premier of Northern Nigeria, Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sardauna of Sokoto. And among all the contenders for the Presidency from the North, the closest to Sardauna’s legacies is Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso who has the integrity, competence and empathy to rescue Northern Nigeria, indeed all Nigerians and can uplift their conditions of living from the current deplorable situation.”