as Northern elders back S’West on open contest
It’s beauty of democracy –Balarabe
To declare Buhari ineligible premature –Yakasai
President’s performance below standard –Junaid
The plot to possibly prevent President Muhamnadu Buhari from having an automatic ticket to contest the 2019 presidential election appears to be thickening by the day, as some prominent political figures of northern extraction have thrown their weights behind the South- West Caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which recently demanded an open contest for the coveted ticket.
As an incumbent serving his first term, President Buhari ought to have an automatic ticket or the right of first refusal in the choice of who flies the flag of the party at the polls. But a former Interim National Chairman of the APC, Chief Bisi Akande, had at the meeting of the South-West Caucus recently, declared that this convention might not be respected.
Apparently taking a cue from Akande, a former Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa told Sunday Telegraph that throwing the political space open for every eligible aspirant to the position was the best option in a democracy. Musa argued that if the APC was practicing democracy in its true sense, there should be no question of pre-determining candidates for an election, adding that positions should be thrown open to the members of the party.
He also disclosed that the argument espoused by Akande was in tandem with the thinking of the political elite from other parts of Nigeria. “They are right. They are right that the ticket should be thrown open because that is the beauty of democracy. But the North and everybody is saying the same thing. The East is virtually saying the same thing. In fact, the East is saying that they are not supporting any particular person; they are leaving it open.
So every region of Nigeria is saying the same thing. “If we are practising democracy, there is no question of pre-determining candidates for an election. You leave it open to the party members. It will help us in looking for the best
. “You know, before now, every party seemed to have supported zoning even though it was invented by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and every body supported it because it gives every section a sense of belonging.
The only mistake was that when we zone a particular position to a region, you should try to pick the best from the area; you don’t leave it to the people in that region alone to decide. This is what has been happening in Nigeria and that is why we never have the President we need all the time. This is wrong. You can zone it to left or right, but you should leave it to Nigerians to pick the best, not the people of the zone picking anybody just because he is coming from the zone,” he said.
Similarly, another frontline politician from the North, Dr. Junaid Mohamned, has expressed support for the ruling party to throw the ticket open and allow a level playing ground in its search for a presidential flagbearer. Mohammed argued that Akande’s declaration that a vacancy exists in Aso Rock was normal in a democratic setting.
According to him, under a sane democratic environment, an incumbent could only be for the renewal of his mandate at the successful completion of the first tenure. Mohammed lamented that President Buhari might face an uphill task if the quest for a second term was to be predicated on the record of performance during his current tenure.
“Between you and me, has this man performed? Between you and your God, tell me, has he performed? So why are you asking the question? Are you asking me to follow the line of tribal discussion all over the country?
Because he is a Northerner, I must support him; because he is a Fulani, I must support him; he is not performing but because he is a Moslem, I must support him. “I am not like that and you can go and check the nature of my politics.
I have never been in politics for noise, the position or for material possessions. I have never done that. Why should I do that; I am approaching 70 years of age. If a man has not performed, what is the big deal about somebody coming out to declare that the seat is vacant and any other person can come and contest,” he said.
However, Mohammed charged Akande and other leaders of the APC in the South West not to over-rate their contributions towards the making of the Buhari Presidency as the other regions also played significant roles during the 2015 presidential polls. He said that whereas the average votes garnered by Buhari in Lagos and other SW state was about 700, 000, Kano gave him two million votes.
“Kano and Lagos have the same population and if Kano people are not making noise, why should the South-West be making noise about it? But in any case, was Buhari given the ticket because people thought he had something to offer or was it based on sentiments?
After all, there are people who will come and vote for him, no matter what he has to offer, his performance or non-performance. You don’t do such a thing in the 21st Century,” he said. Mohammed said that the South-West having been part of the plot in the conspiracy to give Nigeria a leadership that is below standard, cannot resort to making noise now as if they were members of another party. Instead, he said, they should take control of their party to ensure that everybody who wants to contest any position has a good and equal opportunity in 2019 .
Chairman, Northern Elders Council (NEC), Alhaji Tanko Yakasai, has dismissed the move by the SW Caucus of APC to determine who gets the presidential nomination as premature and at best. an academic exercise.
Yakasai observed that though he was not a member of the APC, he was aware that neither the APC nor the other political parties have commenced the process of nominating candidates for the forthcoming presidential elections. “Honestly, I don’t know from what authority he (Akande) was speaking.
I know he is a chieftain of his party and a Nigerian who is entitled to his own opinion but I think that there is a procedure for nominating candidates for an election.
The process is yet to be invoked. “I don’t think that even the National Chairman of the APC ( John Oyegun) or any other executive of the party has the powers to open or shut the door against any candidate. I am not a member of their party but I don’t know if he (Akande) has the authority to make such a weighty declaration. It is up to his party (APC) to decide whether to field him (Buhari) or not. If the party decides to field him, it is left for Nigerians to vote for him or deny him a second term mandate,” Yakasai said.