THE Northern coalition has called on President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar not to contest the 2019 presidential election, and leave the stage for more competent, younger persons between the ages of 18-60 years to contest and steer the affairs of the country.
In a communique issued at the end of its two-day summit in Kaduna State and read by the northern youth group Spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the Coalition noted that it was not the first time it had advised persons in their 70s and above, particularly President Buhari to quit the presidential stage for younger generations.
“We have advised him (Buhari) to look for younger generation who has the integrity like him to run for the presidency.
“Anybody above 70 years of age should give way to younger generation.”
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The Arewa youth also said that the recommendations of the committees set up by the All Progressive Congress and the Northern governors Forum on restructuring be “discredited and abandoned”.
The communiqué noted that its advice to President Buhari and former vice president Atiku Abubakar was in recognition of the reality that Nigerians within this age bracket, (70 years and above) have “participated in debates that gave birth to the current national arrangement that is largely acknowledged as having failed our national aspirations”.
The communiqué which read in part further stated, “This is in recognition of the reality that Nigerians within this age bracket are growing worried that the nation has not fared well by being on the same political and economic lanes for 58 years (1960-date), resulting in no meaningful developmental impact.
This shall therefore eventually form the cornerstone for a platform for Nigeria to deliberate, decide, design, and develop a roadmap for an ultimate generational power transition.
“Frustrated young Nigerians, having paid their dues in the national development effort, have manifestly are left to suffer from the suffocating consequences of the prevailing exclusive and defeatist leadership selection process being imposed on the country over the years, by succeeding ruling elites.
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“It is time they formed a rallying point from which younger Nigerians can make a strong demand for a new political order, to usher in a generational power shift, as reparation for past marginalisation in the nation’s political leadership”.
It also frowned at, “The mistake about to be committed by the present crop of northern political leaders in accepting a proposal that could mortgage the region’s collective interest and its future.
“The seeming endorsement by some northern leaders of a brand of restructuring that clearly places the region at a disadvantage is unacceptable and must be discountenanced. For the avoidance of doubt, the North fully supports the restructuring of the country and shall be prepared to represent itself in any debate on the issue.
“The North shall however not settle for any restructuring plan that falls short of a total, comprehensive and wholistic reordering that should first and foremost include the peaceful, democratic and civil determination of the people or groups of people that truly and sincerely wish to remain part of the Nigerian federation.
“Any reorganization process that fails involve the discussion of the limits and extents of all the federating components with regards to available space and resources shall not be acceptable to the North”.
The communiqué insisted that, “The recommendations by both the committees set up by the northern state governors and the All Progressives Congress be discredited and abandoned.
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“In their place, a new all-encompasing process that will ensure the accurate representation of all interests be constituted.
“And that older generation Nigerians above age 70 must not take up more 15 percent of the delegate composition to the proposed national dialogue on restructuring.
“It is important to note here that those who fall within the above definition of old generation Nigerians have in the past participated in debates that gave birth to the current national arrangement that is largely acknowledged as having failed our national aspirations.
“Nigerians of between the ages of 18 to 60 should therefore competently compose 85 percent of the delegation to the new debate process for the reorganization of the country”.