Spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed has said elected members of the 10th National Assembly (NASS) should be allowed to choose their leaders based on merit and competence.
This is also as he averred that northern voters have done their job and voted based on convictions over qualities of candidates while some voted along faith lines and others along party lines.
Speaking in his personal capacity as the lead paper presenter at a one-day colloquium organized by the Democratic Watch Initiative (DWI) in Kaduna yesterday, he pointed to the result of the elections as testament that North was the only region that gave all the candidates huge votes. “Indeed, they made the difference in terms of who became elected at presidential levels.”
Baba-Ahmed said individuals and groups lobbying for positions from northern legislators should be conscious of the fact that the best thing is to respect the independence of the legislature and allow members to choose their leaders.
“Elected legislators waiting for final verdicts from the courts who are lobbying groups and members of the public to be elected by colleagues or president-elect forget that if successful, they will be leading legislators.
“Groups which lobby Tinubu for ‘theirs’, should know they will pay a price in the long run. That is how politics is played,” Baba-Ahmed said, adding, “The North does not want just any legislator from the North to become Speaker. We should hope that he has the highest personal integrity and a good idea of how his position can help him. All of them contesting should submit to a process by which their fellow contestants nominate them and then support.
“The same thing should be done at the Senate level. If they know each other better than us and cannot decide who will serve our interests as Northerners best, then we stop campaigning for all of them. We do not want legislators who want to be in positions of power to fulfill personal ambition.
“Individuals and groups lobbying for positions for northern legislators should be conscious of a number of things. First, the best thing is to respect the independence of the legislature and allow members to choose their leaders.”
One of the discussants, Professor Abubakar Sadiq from Gombe State who is the deputy director-general operations of NEF said north is always at advantage when it comes to democracy because of their number which is the criteria that determines election outcome.
Sadiq whose position was equally corroborated by Professor Abubakar Abdullahi and Professor Jika Jidjere who were also discussants at the colloquium, said northern Nigeria contributed 64 percent to the election process that produced Bola Ahmed Tinubu with 5,587,764 while other regions produced 36 percent that is less than four million votes
He said that the voting pattern since 1979 has been like that till date, adding that no region has sacrificed for the unity of Nigeria like the Northerners.
“No region has sacrificed like the North in the history of Nigeria because they have the majority number but they had to sacrifice it for the unity of Nigeria. If not for the North that stood there’s no way a southerner will emerge as APC flag-bearer.
“The four major political parties got their major votes from the North regardless of where they came from,” he stated.
Earlier, the convener, Malam Nasir Danbatta said the colloquium with the theme: “inclusive participation for sustainable democracy” was put together to brainstorm and design a comprehensive manifest for a major paradigm shift to a more responsive leadership and adoption of new selection process that would shift from parochial considerations such as ethnicity, religion and sectionalism and centre on competence, capacity and character as basis for governance.