The Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) yesterday declared that the North has not produced any consensus presidential candidate for the People Democratic Party (PDP) contrary to the position of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) as announced by its convener, Prof Ango Abdullahi.
The position of NYLF, an umbrella body of 42 youth organisations in the North, was revealed yesterday in Abeokuta, Ogun State, by its President, Elliot Afiyo, during an interaction with journalists.
The NEF had reportedly named the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, and the former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, as the consensus candidates for the North in the forthcoming presidential primary of the party, and which had been generating controversies among other aspirants and leaders.
But speaking with journalists, Afiyo said the NYLF rejected in its entirety, the report of the Abdullahi-led committee, which purportedly named the consensus candidates.
The NYLF president also said none of the southern presidential aspirants on the platform of the PDP has the political will to handle Nigeria’s current challenges.
However, Afiyo said the South has people with high intellectual capabilities and competence but may not be able to withstand the pressure when it comes to political will and courage.
He maintained that the North is not hell-bent on retaining the presidency in 2023 but the next president must be a leader who has the political will to change Nigeria’s current “unusual circumstances.”
The group president said the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led government had reneged on its promises and further plunged the country into deeper crisis.
According to him, “We have found ourselves in a peculiar and unusual situation, which requires unusual solutions.
“We are not insisting that the North must produce the next president, but we need to let Nigerians know that we need someone that’s well experienced, and has the political will, the boldness and the courage to change the narrative.
“Such person must be able to say yes when it is yes and no when it is expected.
“You will all agree with me that all the PDP presidential aspirants from the North and South, I stand to be corrected, there is no presidential aspirant from the South that has the political will to change or confront these challenges.”
He added that although former President Goodluck Jonathan “is a good man, he has no political will to implement the 2014 National Constitutional conference report.”
The NYFL national leader called on Nigerians to eschew regional and ethnic sentiment in the choice of the next president of the country.
Speaking on the controversial consensus candidate from the North, Afiyo said Prof Abdullahi’s announcement of Bauchi State Governor, Mohammed, and Saraki neither represented the position of the former Military Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) nor that of the NEF.
He said: “It is very wrong to say North has presidential consensus candidate. We don’t have consensus candidate, and IBB didn’t endorse any candidate.
“IBB is a statesman. IBB loves this country; he has paid due sacrifices for this country, and he is not a timid person. He is not sentimental. He puts national interest above any other interest.”
Culled from THISDAY