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    2019: Don’t take side in Buhari vs Atiku contest, Northern youths caution elders

    2019: Don’t take side in Buhari vs Atiku contest, Northern youths caution elders

    As the race for the nation’s presidency intensifies, northern youths have cautioned their elders not to take side in the contest between incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and his major challenger, Atiku Abubakar.

    President M Buhari and Atiku

    The youths in a letter made available to Vanguard yesterday, asked the elders to allow Nigerians to assess the two leading northern politicians and freely choose anyone of their choice to lead Nigeria.

    The youths under the aegis of  Northern Emancipation Network, a member of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) responsible for the Kaduna Declaration made against IPOB last year cautioned the Northern Elders Forum (NEF)  to provide a level playing field for the two men instead of making inflammatory statements against either of them.

    The statement followed last week’s claim by NEF that it would not back Buhari next year.

    The youth group  urged the Elders Forum to invest more energy in advising the upcoming generations correctly instead of the futile attempt to continue to manipulate the thinking of the youth for their personal interest.

    A statement by coordinator of the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman who doubles as spokesperson for the Northern Coalition, said it was sad that those who today constitute themselves as northern elders are in more ways than one directly responsible for the multiple challenges faced by the region.
    According to the youths: “It is saddening that all the men talking as elders were at various times in positions of influence which they used for self serving purposes instead of for the overall development of the region.

    “As though just waking from a deep sleep, these people are now coming to dictate to the North whom to vote for between Atiku and Buhari without first telling the children the truth regarding how they got the region to this sorry situation.

    “They all held positions of influence at various times, but used the positions for personal material acquisition, self-preservation and perpetuation of their selfish interest while the region remains the most backward in all respects.

    “They should begin by explaining why the North is today the bastion of poverty, illiteracy, insecurity and everything that make life difficult for a people after it has held power for most of Nigeria’s independent existence.

    “These same people have enjoyed everything the North had to offer since pre-independence, but concentrated those opportunities in monopolizing the total available activity in the region for their personal benefits to the detriment of the larger population.

    “Now that they have been schemed out by time and changing circumstances and posterity threatening to call them to account for their past bankruptcy, they are still bent on further confusing the already dicey situation in the region which they brought about.”

    The Group said that the choice before northerners in 2019, is critical and requires careful assessment as it has to do with the ultimate survival of the region or the eventual perpetration of failed strategies  aimed at diminishing the viability of the North and rendering it incapable of standing on its  two feet and competing favourably with other parts of the country.

    “Northerners must keep in mind that the resurgence and persistence of separatist agitations especially by the IPOB and its ilk represent a much wider conspiracy to divide Nigeria and bring the North down on its knees by incapacitation and balkanization.

    “The choice is therefore one that has to do with placing the fate of the North at the mercy of persons who have remained openly and unapologetically contemptuous of northern values like Peter Obi, Fani-Kayode, Reno Omokri and co.

    “Northerners should therefore discountenance the position of the so-called elders and know that in the unfolding political chess game, it is essential that the North anticipates and checkmates the maneuvers of its detractors and their internal collaborators.

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