AS the 2023 elections draw closer, Spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Hakeem Baba-Ahmed has said that neither the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) nor the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) holds answers to Nigeria’s current predicament.
He noted that most politicians in PDP and APC cross-carpeted from one political party to the other in order to get hold of power, rather than have transformative ideology about the country.
Baba-Ahmed, who said this on Tuesday in a monitored interview on Arise Television, expressed concern that Nigeria’s current political process shut out good candidates who were not traditional money bag politicians that couldn’t pay millions of dollars in party primaries.
He noted that Nigeria needed to clean up its political and electoral processes regarding the huge amounts paid by candidates to lobby delegates at primaries, noting that it was often out of the reach of good candidates.
Baba-Ahmed, an ardent supporter of President Muhammad Buhari in 2015 elections, said he was disappointed in Buhari’s presidency, noting that he failed people despite high expectations placed on him.
He noted that the democratic process should enhance the emergence of good people, not a particular region insisting on producing candidates.
Baba-Ahmed, who also spoke on the expected qualities of the next Nigerian president, said competence should be his major attribute.
“He must first be a Nigerian, be competent and recognise various problems facing different regions of the country.
“If he’s a southerner and people can convince us that he’s better than anyone else from the North, we would vote for him.
“We voted for Abiola against the person from Kano State. We voted for Jonathan against Buhari.”
Baba-Ahmed noted that this was not the first time northerners had voted for a southerner and it could be done.
Speaking further on southern governors’ various meetings and their resolutions, he noted that most of them were hypocritical and spoke from both sides of the mouth.
“Even as we speak, same southern governors saying we must do this and that are still busy negotiating for positions for 2023, and they know that.
“They discuss with other politicians, including politicians from the North, come out and create a bi-partisan fallacy while making demands that they know are inconsistent with the democratic process.”
He also cautioned southern governors and groups making unguarded utterances to stop, noting that their comment was neither helping them nor helping the country.
He went further to state that the best way to go about it was to sit down with others and discuss and find a common ground.
Baba-Ahmed, who was heavily criticised for saying that the North had the numbers to continue producing presidents, said discussions, negotiations and concessions were hallmarks of political strategy.
“We’re not going to be rendered into observers on election day. Those things that are basic in politics such as negotiations,concessions are not being done, but the governors across regions talk to themselves in private.”
He noted that there were options and those options must be put on the table for discussions.