Strong indications have emerged that political leaders from the north, may have commenced moves to endorse President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor.
This is even as the leaders, criticised him over what they described as the poor handling of security and ethnic agitations in different parts of the country.
The leaders who converged on Abuja, are members of Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF). It’s chairman and former acting chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Dr, Haliru Bello, said there is loss of confidence and unspoken disquiet on the part of the populace where the leadership is concerned.
He called on Nigerians of good standing to come together to arrest the drift. He said the kind of leadership the country requires must be decided by stakeholders.
He said: “We must be brutally frank to ourselves and address the situation on the ground. Our country is in a serious predicament as over the years there has been growing failure of leadership that has thrown Nigeria into the current political, economic and social crises.
“There is a palpable loss of confidence and unspoken disquiet on the part of the populace where the leadership is concerned. It is a matter of urgency that Nigerians of good standing come together to arrest the drift. It is also critical that the leadership of such a national political platform be provided by the North, hence this meeting.”
“We believe, there is an urgent need to hold a conversation amongst us with a view to devising practical strategies, options and choices in all matters relating to the 2019 general elections. We believe this should be encouraged, supported and vigorously pursued in order to produce a dynamic and committed political leadership that Nigeria so desperately needs at this juncture.”
Second Republic presidential adviser, Mr. Tanko Yakassai, while speaking, said northern Nigeria is passing through its most trying times since the amalgamation of the north and south in 1914.
He listed insecurity, civil strife, ethnic killings, killer herdsmen, indigene/settler conflict, kidnappings, collapse of civil authority, among others, as issues confronting the country.
The politician who is always critical of President Buhari, said: “Our country is once again in a big problem In which Northern Nigeria seems to be passing through its most trying times since 1914. There are issues of insecurity, civil strife, intemecine ethnic killings, killer herdsmen, indigene/settler conflict, kidnappings, collapse of civil authority, etc.
“In addition, comparatively among the current six geo-political zones of the country, the three Northern zones are worst off in terms of human and physical infrastructure, economy and education.
“For the people of the North to come out of these challenges, undoubtedly triggered by poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, unemployment, lack of honest and sincere leadership and the huge lifestyle disparity in the society, they must resolve the current leadership failure in the region, and return the region back to its rightful position in Nigeria’s national balance of political power.”
Some key northern figures who attended the meeting included former Deputy President of the Senate, Ibrahim Mantu; former governor of Niger State, Babaginda Muazu; Professors Ango Abdullahi and Awwalu Yadudu; serving and former members of the National Assembly and former ministers, among others.