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The Chairman of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, has insisted that the people of the north will not consider ethnicity or religion when voting in 2023 because they have learnt their lesson at a great cost.
Abdullahi made this pledge while speaking at the Northern People’s Summit in Kaduna on Wednesday, warning politicians from the region that they do not have any guarantee that the people will vote for them in the next general election.
Abdullahi, who was represented by the spokesman of the forum, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed, added that experiences have taught the region the values of critical scrutiny of records, dispositions, and empathy.
The NEF chairman said politicians that will be voted for must have the socio-economic development plans, adding that those who care for the people before, during, and after the election will have the votes.
‘No Northerner should assume that he is guaranteed the support and votes of Northerners simply because he is one of them.’
‘The North must think out of the box and elect new sets of leaders who will do a lot better than the current ones.
‘Northern voters have supported three southerners – Abiola, Obasanjo and Jonathan – to victory in the past, two of them against Northerners. Northern voters are enlightened and conscious of their responsibilities. They have learnt, perhaps at a greater cost than most Nigerians, that ethnicity and faith alone do not make good leaders. They will not accept to be further weakened so that they abandon the same rights all Nigerians enjoy.
‘Those politicians who want Northerners to vote in a particular manner should soil their boots and convince Northerners how their candidates will improve security, economy and society in the North and the country.’
On the agitation for secession, Prof Abdullahi advised those agitating for Nigerians to go their separate ways to have a rethink.
He said secession is not the solution to any grievance, just as he called on the federal government to take the threat of the separatists with all the seriousness it deserves.
He prayed that the summit will expose the wisdom of adopting new or better approaches to dealing with problems of the North.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK