Following comments from former FCT minister and Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF)’s Board of Trustee ( BoT) Chairman, Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni (rtd), that Vice President Namadi Sambo has no clout to rally the north towards 2015, former Presidential Adviser in the Second Republic, Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has replied the retired soldier. He said that his statement contradicts the position of the North, and cautioned him to tread carefully, as these are fragile times.
“Being Arewa Consultative Forum’s BoT chair, J.T Useni ought to regard every northerner as the same. It is unfortunate for him or anyone occupying such position to make such uncomplimentary statements about the Vice President.
“The Vice President deserves respect from all and sundry, particularly, from the north. The position J.T Useni is holding today belongs to all Northerners, regardless of political affiliation. He should, therefore, distance himself from partisan politics.
“I will like to emphasise that while the constitution of the country guarantees freedom of speech, views from J.T Useni should be regarded as his personal view, as there was no occasion, whatsoever, in which the North or the ACF mandated him to make such a comment.
“His statement contradicts the official stand of the ACF issued at the end of the emergency meeting of the BOT and the national working committee of the organisation, which says that it does not support any debate regarding the 2015 election, which will amount to diverting the attention of the government from fulfilling its electoral promises.”
Yakassai further said that it should however be noted that the Vice President contested and won election of a state in this country.
“This clearly demonstrates that he has enough political clout. Useni is also being unfair to the 19 northern governors for saying that they are not committed to the region. It is on record that the 19 governors and the FCT minister facilitated the ACF December conference. As a member of the ACF, I commend their efforts.”
In another development, a group, Northern Development Initiative, NDI, has termed the retired military man’s comments as “mischievous and an attempt at seeking relevance”.
The group’s national team leader, Dr. Ahmed Abdallah, told LEADERSHIP that: “It is rather mischievous for Gen Useni to resort to blackmail in his desperate attempt to discredit the Vice President. The likes of Gen Useni need to be educated on the roles and responsibilities of the office of the vice president as provided in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
There is no basis for comparing Sardauna to the current Vice President. Sardauna operated as a regional leader of the north in a parliamentary system of government which is entirely different from the presidential system of government. The times and situation are worlds apart.
“In the current system, the vice president is not only a northern leader, his duties are guided by the constitution and the constitution gives powers to the president. He is a subordinate of Mr President and can only do what he is asked to do.
“Vice president Namadi Sambo has proven to be genuinely committed to the overall interest, unity and progress of the entire country.”
Abdallah pointed out that Vice President Sambo has, so far, been instrumental to conducting parleys and negotiations between the Federal Government and some groups in the north, to bring about peace and stability.