From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The Arewa Youth Stakeholders Forum has described the recent endorsement of President Goodluck Jonathan as the preferred candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as the ‘Joke of the Decades’, saying the Northern Region will only support a candidate from the North during the election.
The Group stated this at a summit held in Kaduna over the weekend.
The Summit which has in attendence representatives of the various youth groups noted that there is the need for the North to screen all presidential aspirants from the region in order to come up with a consensus candidate.
The group emphasized the need to have a credible candidate who would contest on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), which is seen as the only alternative platform for the region to challenge the incumbent President.
In his remark, the Guest Speaker, Mallam Hassan Ibrahim, said that with the array of aspirants from the North jostling to succeed President Jonathan, like the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, General Muhammadu Buhari, Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso and a host of others, there is the need to scrutinize all of them based on their contributions to the development of the North and thereafter make a good choice.
According to Mallam Hassan the argument was that the North has been marginalized for a long time by present and past leaders, and now needs a trusted leader who would address the issue of insecurity, poverty and unemployment in the region.
“To achieve this, the youth said that the North must seek the support of their brothers and sisters from other parts of the country, using all democratic and peaceful means.
“The North faulted the PDP for endorsing President Jonathan as the sole presidential candidate of the party in 2015, stating that such endorsement negates the principles of true democracy and rule of law” he said.
The youth advised the President to concentrate on tackling the various challenges facing the country adding that this is not the first time that a group from the North would come up with this type of consensus arrangement. In 2011, a group of northern political leaders endorsed former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, as the region’s sole candidate who contested against President Jonathan during the PDP primary.