Northerners will no longer vote on basis of religion, ethnicity, says NEF

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Convener of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and former Vice Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Prof. Ango Abdullahi has said that the northerners will no longer consider religion and ethnicity as a basis for electing leaders.
Speaking at the Northern Peoples Submit which held on Wednesday in Kaduna, Abdullahi said northerners will rather vote politicians that have the socio-economic development plans for the for the region irrespective of tribe and religion.
According to him, “northerner voters have learnt, at greater cost than most Nigerians, that ethnicity and faith alone do not make good leaders.”
He added that politicians who want northerners to vote in a particular manner should soil their boots and convince them how their candidates will improve security, economy and society in the North and the country.
Abdullahi said 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 their support.
According to the NEF convener, “Politicians who cannot impose their influence on irredentist that threaten our corporate existence and the lives and livelihoods of our fellow Northerners stand on very thin ground in our estimation.
“Politicians who cannot or will not influence public sentiment which demonises our fellow Northerners and leaves them open to attack will not weigh much in our consideration as leaders under whom we will feel safe and secure.
“Politicians who want the support and the vote of the Northerner, but will not raise their voices and act to protect him 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.”
He said further that by the same token, no northerner should assume that he is guaranteed the support and votes of northerners simply because he is a northerner.
He stressed that experiences have taught northerners, 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.
“There will be no longer business as usual. Nigerians running away from bullets, stressing to make ends meet, or being made to fight each other instead of the real enemy will not forgive those who built the foundations of our circumstances today, and seek to sustain their privileges over our fears and pains”.
According to him, leadership has to emerge on the basis of different criteria, stressing that “only the best leadership can pull Nigeria from the brink”.
He said those using restructuring as a threat or bargaining tool for accepting zoning will destroy the imperatives of restructuring and imperil the country.
He said the north must think think out of the box and elect new sets of leaders who will do a lot better than the current ones.
Abdullahi also urged those agitating to go their separate ways to have rethink, warning that that secession is not a solution to any grievance.
He called on the federal government to take threat of separation with all the seriousness it deserve.”

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