By AbdulGafar Alabelewe, Kaduna
Chairman Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF) Professor Ango Abdullahi has said the north will not vote along ethnicity and faith lines in choosing leaders in 2023.
Northerners, he said, had learnt their lesson at a great cost.
Abdullahi stated no northerner should assume he is guaranteed the support and votes of northerners simply because he is one of them.
He said experiences have taught the region the values of critical scrutiny of records, dispositions and empathy.
He spoke in Kaduna on Wednesday as convener of Northern People’s Summit on barriers between the people and thier leaders.
According to him: “Northern voters have supported three southerners, Abiola, Obasanjo and Jonathan to victory in the past, two of them against Northerners.
“Northern voters are enlightened and conscious of their responsibilities. They have learnt, perhaps at greater cost than most Nigerians, that ethnicity and faith alone do not make good leaders. They will not accept to be further weakened so that they abandon the same rights all Nigerians enjoy.
“Those politicians who want Northerners to vote in a particular manner should soil their boots and convince Northerners how their candidates will improve security, economy and society in the North and the country.
“Using restructuring as a threat or bargaining tool for accepting zoning will destroy the imperatives of restructuring and imperil the country.
“Politicians and leaders who desire to lead need to understand that Nigerians are watching what they do in their immediate constituencies that will entitle them to ask for our support. We should speak frankly and directly to the rest of Nigeria on this issue.”
He added: “Politicians who want the support and the vote of the Northerner, but will not raise their voices and act to protect them against underserved treatment in areas where they have power and influence, should not expect to find our people with open arms when they ask for support.
“By the same token, no Northerner should assume that he is guaranteed the support and votes of Northerners simply because he is one of us. Our experiences have taught us the values of critical scrutiny of records, dispositions and empathy.
‘’Our advice to all Nigeria politicians at this stage is to look around and see how much the ground has shifted from under their feet.’’
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