A Group under the aegis of the Arewa New Agenda (ANA) on Wednesday converged in Abuja to discuss on the demands to present to the presidential candidates for the 2023 elections.
The group said that it would harmonise their agenda and interest of the North as regards the 2023 election and present it to the candidates.
Speaking with newsmen during the conference, in Abuja, a former governor of Zamfara State, Ahmad Sani Yerima, noted that the conference would also look at the candidates contesting for other positions from the Northern perspective and see who has the capacity and competence to address the problems of the North.
Yerima said that what Nigeria needed in 2023 is a good leader that should be President for all, as he does not believe in the power rotation.
In his words, “The conference is an event organised by a forum of people of various disciplines in the North to harmonise an agenda that will be presented to politicians aspiring to be President of this country. We believe we should come together and say this is our problem and this is the solution we are proposing for the candidate that wants to govern this country.
“You can see we have many political parties, including APC NNPP, PDP and LP and each of them has a candidate. So Arewa New Agenda is saying, ‘this is the agenda for the North’. Before now, there were other agenda; but now events have changed and that is why it is called the new agenda.
“It is about looking at the candidate that will pursue the interest and problems of the North and how to resolve them. We are going to discuss and after that, we will harmonise the interest of the North as regards 2023 and we will present it to the candidates to tell us how they will resolve them.
“We are looking at other candidates from a Northern perspective and see who has the capacity and competence to address our problems. An Igbo man should be a President not because of where he is from, but because of his capacity, likewise a Yoruba and Hausa man.
“That is why I don’t believe in this power rotation, even the constitution does not provide for power rotation, competence.”
The conference organised by ANA in collaboration with Arewa House with the theme, “Building strategic imperatives of the Arewa agenda.”
The targeted presidential candidates for the 2023 elections include Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, All Progressives Congress; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Peoples Democratic Party; Peter Obi, Labour Party and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso New Nigeria Peoples Party.
On his part, the Convener and Coordinator of ANA, Senator Ahmad Abubakar Moallahyidi, explained that the organisation was collaborating with Arewa House, the centre for research and historical documentation endeavour in their capacity as the repository and custodians of Northern history past and present.
According to him, “We are here today because, among other things, the North is in a quest for continuing development; for which we are looking forward to fostering the required environment that will enable us to surmount the myriad of challenges facing the region: some of which are clearly existential threats.
“Nigeria has an animal population of 34.5 million goats and 22.1 million sheep and 19 million cattle the larger proportion of these are concentrated in the northern region of the country in addition to the innumerable mineral resources, favourable climate, youthful population and other enviable potentials.
“Seven States in the South (Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Abia, Ebonyi, Imo, Anambra and Lagos) put together have a combined land mass of 39,141 sq. Km, while Niger State alone has nearly twice that size with 76,363 sq. km.
“This example is not a comparison to impress anybody, rather it is statistical data to provoke a rethink of why would a region this endowed remain poor? Since more than 2/3rd of Nigerian land is in Northern Nigeria, it is quite evident that the North holds the key to food security, the fight to end hunger and malnutrition and therefore the way to sustain agriculture-led growth to curb hunger.
“The Arewa New agenda is saying that this fact must not be lost on anyone who becomes President in 2023. Therefore, it must be known that we need to ensure that our issues articulated above needs to be solved and the guarantee for that happening is when our own people who understand what needs to be done are in the right places to get these things done, we demand that this must be negotiated as we go towards 2023.