New Telegraph


Next leader must be unifier, not ethnic champion
New Constitution, restructuring, improved electoral system tasks before next Commander-in-Chief

Elder statesmen across the regions have prescribed the type of president Nigeria needs in 2023, if, according to them, the country must pull back from the brink and continue to exist as one entity. Those who gave their opinion on the issue are, First Republic Minister for Aviation, Chief Mbazurike Amaechi, the National President of the Middle belt Forum, Dr. Bitrus Pogu and the Convener of the Middle belt Patriotic Front (MPF), Comrade Ibrahim Bunu. Others are the Leader of Pan-Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, and the National President of the Arewa Defense League (ADL), Murtala Abubakar.

The elders said their position was informed by the fact that the country needs a unifying president who will heal the wounds and cracks that have appeared in the polity in the last six years and not an ethnic champion seemingly more concerned about his tribe.

Also the gulf between the South and the Northern parts of the country have grown wilder following insistence by the different zones that the president must come from it. Recall that the Southern governors have repeatedly insisted that power must shift to their region. At separate meetings held on July 5, in Lagos, and September 16, in Enugu, the Southern governors said the next presidency should be zoned to their region since the North has taking its turn.

However, in a communiqué signed by Simon Lalong, governor of Plateau State and chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, after a meeting in Kaduna, the governors called the position of their colleagues in the South, “condemnable”, insisting that such stance contradicts the provisions of the constitution. It is also in view of these divisions and pulling apart that the prescriptions of the elder statesmen and leaders have become very important as political activities and calculations gather momentum ahead of 2023.

Nigeria needs detribalised President, says Amaechi

Chief Amaechi while contributing his opinion on the issue, called for the election of a President that is detribalised ahead of the 2023 Presidential election in the country. According to him, successive administrations in the country had chosen to undermine the need to run an all-inclusive government devoid of tribe, religion and geopolitical zone. He said: “We have had several presidents and Heads of States that have been neck deep in nepotism and religious bigotry to the peril of other tribes and religion. “We do not want a president that would want to Islamize the country like we are seeing now where so much killings and bloodletting are taking place in the country.

“Nigerians should rise above sectional interest, and this task is on the next president who should do away with nepotism. “When we fought for the Independence of this country, we were looking at a Nigeria that would respect all interests and accommodate all and “It is unfortunate that the Nigeria of today and it leadership lack those qualities and this is sad and there is the need to ensure that the next President should ensure that our common wealth and natural resources are managed and evenly distributed and not monkey de work baboons de chop. “However, we urge the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to do the needful and conduct a free fair and credible election that would respect the wishes and aspirations of Nigerians.”

Next president must unite Nigerians, respect rule of Law –Middle belt Forum

In a similar vein, Pogu and Bunu, in their separate interviews with Saturday Telegraph in Jos, said Nigeria is in dire need of a president come 2023, that has the capacity to unite all Nigerians and also has the will to revive the economy for the development of the country. Pogu noted that Nigeria is more divided now than before and there is need to elect a president that will unite all Nigerians irrespective of tribe and religion. “We need a President in Nigeria that will obey and respect the rule of law and also improve our electoral system for Peaceful Nigeria, given everybody sense of belonging with equal right. We also need a president that will end all insecurity and better the lives of the citizens,” he said. Bunu on his part said there is serious division between the North and Southern parts of the country, which is at its peak and as such Nigeria needs a proactive president in 2023, to unite the entire country together. He said: “Nigerians need to take the bold step of electing a president with capacity that will create the conducive avenue for the creation of a new Constitution and as well restructure Nigeria where all critical issues are defined, resolved in other to stimulate the desired growth.” Bunu added said that the present administration under the APC government has destroyed the economy and cannot revive it and put it in good shape. He added that the country needs a president who can provide solutions.

‘We need honest, knowledgeable individual ’

Chief Adebanjo said that Nigeria needs an honest, truthful and knowledgeable individual as the next president in 2023. He stressed that Nigeria, at this critical time, needs someone, who could do justice to everyone and somebody, who is not nepotistic or full of prejudices against other tribes, and who is not a hypocrite. The elder statesman, who spoke with Saturday Telegraph in an interview, however said that the nation could only get such a person if the atmosphere is clear and “if the government of the day allows free thinking and avoid dictatorial tendencies. “It is just that the atmosphere is not congenial now for honest people to come out. I am not talking about any of the big parties such as the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but we have such people around. “Certainly we can get such a person if there is a conducive atmosphere for people to act freely. But not many people can talk the way I’m talking because they have skeletons in their cupboards. Let the atmosphere be clear. Let people be allowed to talk without any form of molestation.”

We need competence and merit in the choice of president -Abubakar

However, the National President of the Arewa Defense League (ADL), Murtala Abubakar, stated that the best person to lead the nation at this point in time should have competence and merit instead of the zoning formula being canvased in some quarters. Abubakar said: “Our position is that at this point of our development we should be talking about competence and merit in the choice of a president that will lead us. Also, we need a president with capacity to recognise competent hands from across the country, who can help him to unite the people, and lead the country to economic prosperity. “Nigeria had in the last 20 years been practicing zoning and rotation in the hope that it will foster unity and engender development but the result has been very disappointing as corruptions and poor leadership combined provided fertile ground for serious security challenges in the country in the past 13 years as the ugly situation continues unabated with serious humanitarian crisis in the North East and North West. “So, only a fool will do things repeatedly and expect a different result. The political parties should be transparent in their primaries and allow all interested party members equal opportunity to test their popularity as universal principles of democracy provided for. “Let Nigerians reject any party that discriminate and deny competent Nigerians the opportunity to offer themselves in the service of the country in the name of zoning. “The qualities that Nigerians should look out for, is any person that wants to lead us, should be somebody who’s detribalised and competent in economic issues and a Nigerian president not a sectional or local champion.”

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