Northern youth appear divided over the planned presidential ambition of national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in 2023.
Speaking under the aegis of Arewa Youths Assembly last week, a collation of northern youths said it would be unjust to have another northerner succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
To this end, they therefore called for the choice of a South-south candidate who within the age bracket of 40-50 years.
Leader of the group, Mr. Mohammed Salihu Danlami said: “The North has occupied the leadership position of the country since independence, more than any other region. It is time for South-south youths to produce the next president in 2023 to complete their eight years of leadership.”
His position differed with that of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) which advocated that the incumbent president should be succeeded by another northerner.
The north, according to leader of the group, Mr. Yerima Shettima, would find a consensus candidate for the next presidential election.
Their position appears to be against the speculated ambition of Senator Tinubu, who is believed to have his eyes on the nation’s top job.
Case for Tinubu
And speaking in favour of Tinubu candidature from the South-west, National Coordinator of Tinubu Media Team (TMT) and President, Arewa Youth Progressive Alliance (AYPA), Mohammed Bello Doka, called on northern elite to ignore those agitating for retention of power in the region beyond 2023.
He said: “North stands to benefit more from a South-west presidency, especially Bola Ahmed Tinubu.”
But reacting to Shettima’s claim in a telephone interview with our reporter Sunday, the TMT it would be wrong to deny the South-west of the ticket.
Doka said: “I will like to also appeal as well as enlighten my people (the northerners) that we have more to gain supporting Tinubu and the South-west thus appearing nationalists than appearing as regional champions. We have a majority in the National Assembly and the FEC, so we have lots of avenues to help the north without laying so much emphasis to the presidency. Let’s consider Nigeria first.”
On Shettima’s position that North should retain the power, Doka said: “I reacted to Yerima Shettima’s claims few days back on YouTube. Nonetheless, I will try to sum this up without mincing words. Yerima Shettima and co are people looking for attention, they are more or less into political business, where nation building, unity and the future of the country mean little or nothing to them.
“Remember Shettima once asked the Igbos to leave the North? And after that he made so many controversial demands which in reality he has no power nor capacity to actualise.
“I am using this medium also as the President of Arewa Youth Progressive Alliance to call on right thinking Nigerians to disregard Yerima Shettima.”
While calling on the northern political elites to consider equity, fair play and the future of Nigeria, Doka said if his region could support a South-west presidential candidate in 2023 (Tinubu most especially), the north will be freed from the “born to rule mentality tag
“I have made passionate appeals to the north to for the sake of equity, fair play and the future of Nigeria to consider the progressives in the south west for the next presidential election and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu in particular.
“This will go a long way in cementing the fragmented Nigeria and will portray north more as team players than selfish born to rule mentality that we have been tagged.
“It’s high time we start thinking Nigeria first rather than appearing as regional champions and ethnocentric personalities.”