The Spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, attracted controversy when he said that the north has the population and will work to retain power in 2023. This did not go down well with many (especially southerners); Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari was greeted with anti-government protesters and ‘paid’ pro-government protesters at the United Nations.
We are reporting these and more as we review the past week!
Despite southern clamour, NEF wants north to keep power in 2023
Spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, has urged the north to retain power in 2023.
In a statement that received widespread condemnation, the former Chief of Staff to ex-President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said that the north is not willing to be second-class.
While insisting that they have the majority, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed said the north cannot be bullied or threatened to pass power to the south because they are capable of retaining it after the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Baba-Ahmed while addressing students at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, said, “We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before; whether we are president or vice-president, we will lead Nigeria.
“We have the majority of the votes and the democracy says vote whom you want. Why should we accept a second class position when we know we can buy forms and contests for first class and we will win?
“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power, but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited leadership, being honest is not being stupid.”
Reactions and attacks
This comments sent ripples across Nigeria, with reactions coming from the north down to the south.
Firstly, Southern and Middle Belt Alliance (SaMBA) described the statement as reckless, careless and insensitive.
SaMBA stated that the era of ”one north” is in the past, stressing that NEF should look for ways to turn its numerical strength to productivity.
Also reacting, a member of the House of Representatives, Shina Peller, berated Hakeem Baba-Ahmed over his comments on the 2023 presidential election.
According to the popular lawmaker, being able to cast the majority votes does not mean that the principle of equity and equality should be ignored.
On their part, Afenifere and Ohanaeze slammed the northern elder forum spokesperson for his unguarded statement.
According to Ohanaeze, there was a gentleman’s agreement that power should be rotating between north and south in 1999.
He, however, advised the NEF to respect the agreement, adding that for justice, equity and fairness, power must rotate to the South in 2023.
Buhari’s UN speech, protest and ‘paid’ counter protest
President Muhammadu Buhari was at the 76th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Buhari spoke to world leaders on the theme of the Assembly and other global issues.
The theme for the 76th session is, “Building Resilience Through Hope – To Recover from COVID-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalise the United Nation’’.
Buhari also had held bilateral meetings with a number of world leaders, delegations and heads of International Development organisations.
The Nigerian leader’s presence in the UN attracted both anti-government and pro-government protesters to the venue.
Protesters agitating for Biafra, Oduduwa nation and the #harassbuhari group stormed the United Nations headquarters to kick against actions of the Buhari administration.
Some asked world leaders to compel Buhari to conduct a referendum, while others called on Buhari to return the naira back to how he met it in 2015.
They were however met with counter protesters who felt the president was on the right track with its policies.
This group of protesters, who were alleged to have received money, played down reports of prosecution of Christians and other allegations levelled against President Buhari.
Utomi, Jega, Duke, Others and the RNP movement
Prominent Nigerians have formed the Rescue Nigeria Project (RNP) to give Nigerians alternative platform to the All Progressives Congress, APC and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Founders of RNP include former governor of Kwara state, Ahmed Abdulfatai, Prof. Pat Utomi, Prof. Tunde Adeniran, former Governor of Cross River state, Donald Duke.
Senator Lee Maeba, Usman Bugaje, Prof. Attahiru Jega, Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, Yomi Awoniyi, Dr. Rose Idi Danladi, Dr. Sadiq Gombe among others.
Naija News reports that Usman Bugaje was appointed as the coordinator of the RNP.
Reacting to the formation of the movement, the Spokesperson of the Nigerian Senate, Senator Ajibola Basiru described the political group as an “assemblage of failed politicians“.
He noted that the 2023 general election will be between the PDP and APC, adding that ‘third force’ movement just want to get media attention.
That will be all for this week! Next week is another time