Northern group plans protest against IBB, Atiku, Buhari
KADUNA— THE decision of former President Ibrahim Babangida, former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to contest the 2011 presidential election is not enjoying the full backing of the North as a northern based group, Arewa Progressive Union, APU, is said to be mobilising the entire North against these leaders who they described as ‘expired leaders’.
So far, four presidential aspirants have emerged from the North. They include Kano State Governor, Ibrahim Sekarau.
Vanguard, however, learnt that some Northern leaders and young elements were reported not to be comfortable with any of them and have, therefore, embarked on a search for a credible northern candidate to challenge President Goodluck Jonathan should he decide to contest the presidential election.
Last Thursday, some northern leaders, including senators and members of the House of Representatives held secret meetings where some aggrieved leaders decided to form a new power bloc in the party, known as the ‘Redemption Group’ to redeem the image of the North.
In what appeared to be a follow up to these meetings, Arewa Progressive Union, APU, held its meeting in Kaduna, yesterday, where it declared that it would soon organize “series of protest marches across the 19 states in the North” to register its protest against the decision of former President Ibrahim Babangida, former Head of State, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to contest the 2011 presidential election.”
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting in Kaduna and signed by APU National Chairman, Alhaji Abdulhamid Inuwa Abdulkadir, also criticized what the group described as unbridled ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan and urged that “Nigerians must be cautious because Jonathan’s desperation and ambition will soon set this country ablaze.”
APU added that the planned protest was part of activities to mark its15th anniversary which would be rounded off with a grand rally in Abuja, “where we are going to mobilize the entire North against these expired leaders who have continued to drag us backwards.”
The communiqué explained that special prayers would be held in churches and mosques across the northern states on Friday and Sunday, “to seek the intervention of the Almighty God to deliver us from some of our leaders who want to continue to enslave us.”
It stated: “The Arewa Progressive Union has watched with keen interest political developments in the country within the past few weeks and hereby urges the entire good people of the North and indeed all Nigerians to ignore the laughable desire of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Major-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to contest the 2011 presidential election.
“It is quite unfortunate that these people who are no longer current with modern developmental and leadership trends in the world still believe that they can stampede the people into supporting them either collectively or individually in the quest to return to power.
“After several years of northern leadership of Nigeria, the North does not have anything to show for it except that the individuals concerned and their families and friends continue to flaunt their ill-gotten wealth.
“The North today is the most backward section of Nigeria with destitution, crass poverty, illiteracy, hunger and disease on rampage everywhere, destroying the people on daily basis. We find it amazing that these northern grandfathers do not find it worthwhile to prepare the younger generation of northerners to succeed them, instead they want to cling onto power forever and this goes to expose their high level of self-centeredness.
“The Arewa Progressive Union will not fold its arms and watch these people destroy the North. We have resolved to organize protest matches simultaneously in all the northern capital cities, as part of measures to sensitize our people that they should not be deceived again.
“The national rally and public lecture slated for Abuja is going to be all-embracing as it will also involve other sections of Nigeria. We want to chart a fresh way forward for our fatherland which has been plundered by a few citizens over these several years.
“The Arewa Progressive Union also wishes to note that the current scheming of President Goodluck Jonathan to retain power by all means will not do the country any good.
“The President should not in any way overstretch his legendary good luck otherwise his unbridled ambition is likely to set this country ablaze in the not too distant future.”
“Although the APU is not a partisan organization, but we are conversant with all the arguments concerning the issue of zoning and presidential power rotation in the country and hereby warn politicians to be wary of any actions that will jeopardize the unity of Nigeria.
“In as much as we shall remain non-partisan, we shall not hesitate to intervene when it becomes absolutely necessary and mobilize the ordinary people against the selfish desires of some people.”