“Count North-Central out” – former Senate President tells Northern leaders over quest for 2015 presidency
The desire by some Northern leaders and interest groups to enthrone a president of Northern extraction in 2015 might have taken a blow as a leader in the North-Central geopolitical zone, Senator Ameh Ebute has declared that his zone is not part of the agitation.
Ebute, who was the Senate President in the aborted Third Republic under former military president, Senator Ameh Ebute said in an interview with newsmen in Lagos that the North-Central would prefer to have President Goodluck Jonathan complete a second term in office before power could shift to another zone.
He also insisted that agitators for Northern Presidency have zeroed the calculation to the North-West, adding that the agitation for presidency in 2015 does not cut across the whole of the North.
The former Senate President also stated that the North, like other parts of the country, should learn to wait whenever power shifts to another zone. According to him, the whole of Nigeria waited from 1979 to 1999 when Northern sons handed over the baton of Nigeria’s presidency to themselves, adding that if other zones could wait that long, nothing should stop the North-West from exercising patience until the end of Jonathan’s second tenure in 2018.
His words: “My advice to them is that they should wait until President Goodluck Jonathan completes his second term since by divine providence, the zoning has automatically fallen on the South-South.
“So the North, whose definition I am not too sure includes the Middle Belt, should wait until the person God has given the presidency completes his second term and as soon as he completes his second term, one can now argue that the turn should now come to the North and that North, should include all the zones in the North, not only the North-West.”
“We have other zones in the north, but some people are now arguing or defining North as if to mean as only the Northwest which I think is one of attributes of the current president.”
He stated that the North should not be disenchanted with the loss of power to the South South because power belongs to all zones of the country.
He further said: “Why should the North be disenchanted? I am part of the North and that is why I ask whether I am part of the North they are speaking about? Why should the North be disenchanted? We started this presidential system in 1979 when President Shehu Shagari was the president for four years, he entered the second term when the military took over from him. The head of the military that took over from him (Buhari) was from the north, then almost one year (one and a half) into office, another northerner, IBB took over from Buhari and was in office for nine years. Then from IBB, you had Abacha who was in office for five years and Abacha died and Abdulsalami was in office for another one year and yet, nobody complained. The people who were at the helm for 16 years were all northerners and there was no Boko Haram and nobody organized anything to distabilise the polity.
“So why should the north be bitter for the eight years that President Goodluck Jonathan is going to be in office. It will soon be the turn of the north and they should be patient enough. If Nigerians could be patient when these people I have mentioned were in office, then why shouldn’t they be patient when other persons are in office? Does that mean that the presidency belongs to them? Nigerians say no, the presidency does not belong to any particular zone.
He also faulted the claim that the leader of Northern Elders forum, Prof Ango Abudullahi does not speak for a majority of Northerners on his agitation for presidency in 2015.
The former number three citizen said: “I am not a member of the Arewa Consultative Forum or the Northern Elders Forum. Whether he is speaking for Arewa Consultative Forum or Arewa Elders Forum, it is left to Ango Abdullahi and I don’t know anything that is happening within those organizations. But I assure you that apart from the members of the Arewa Elders Forum and Arewa Consultative Forum, there are millions of other northerners that believe in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.
“So when one person representing a few people being funded by the governors and holding press conferences virtually everyday, he is putting up his own ideas. You cannot say that the ideas are supported by everybody within that zone.
“I agree that he must be speaking for some people, but they are not the majority in that zone.”