2011: Presidency not our birthright, Niger gov tellss northerners

THE SUN Newspaper-Ismail Omipidan

Chairman of the 19 Northern Governors Forum, NGF, and Niger State Governor, Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu, may have again stirred the hornet’s nest with his declaration that the Presidency is not the North’s birthright.
And he chose Kaduna , the North’s political melting pot to deliver his message and the 10th anniversary celebration of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, where former Vice President Atiku Abubakar was seated, as the occasion to drive home his point.

Aliyu, whose declaration is coming on the heels of insistence by the northern establishment, that the North must produce the President, in 2011, told the gathering that even though he has been warned several times to stop talking on “big, big issues,” he would not heed the call, adding that if they do not talk on them, the “big issues” would come to haunt them.

While congratulating the ACF at 10, the governor of Niger State noted that the ACF event was holding at one of the most interesting and “challenging times in the political history of this nation, and the North in particular; a period that has brought the relevance of ACF and sister institutions into focus by providing the platform for the articulation of ideas and plans for tackling the challenges facing us.

“Indeed, it is time we woke up to the complexities of the changing political realities in this country. As Nigerians of northern extraction, should we be more concerned with the euphoria, sensationalism and sentiment of having a President from the North or a President that can deliver the goods and services for the improved well being of Nigerians?

“Shouldn’t we, therefore, begin to articulate our concerns and needs and judge candidates by what they can deliver to us rather than where they come from? We must begin to be rational and negotiate wisely with a view to tackling the development challenges facing us, once and for all- excruciating poverty, decay in the educational system, infrastructural gaps, almajiri syndrome and youth restiveness, among others.

“We must seriously wake up to the realties of globalization and interdependence for the good of the North and the nation at large. The era of lording it over others or simply thinking ‘we have it,’ has passed. We should not continue to take things for granted in the political equation of this country.

“I believe we should focus attention squarely on how the average Nigerian can experience a decent life like his counterparts in other parts of the world in the 21st century. Many of the sensational issues that we preoccupy ourselves with are not necessary and should not take so much of our time, energy and resources, when others are moving on positively,” the Niger governor said.

On his part, the host governor, Mohammed Namadi Sambo, emphasized the need to tackle corruption frontally, saying that that was the only way a just and egalitarian society could be built, which would in turn guarantee and accelerate development.


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