Hungry and hard pressed, the north have assured President Muhammadu Buhari their votes for him last year were no waste—although they urged him to double down oh fixing the economy.
Northern leaders told the president on Monday in Kaduna that in spite of the woes befalling his administration, he will have their mandate if he chooses to run again in 2019.
“Those who are disposed to listen, please listen. Northern votes were not wasted in electing President Buhari. In 2019, we will also use our votes in a manner consistent with our interests as northerners. We did not make a mistake in putting up a solid, united front as northerners in spite of our ethno-religions differences,” said Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
He spoke on behalf of the northern elders at the Northern Group’s Summit organised by the Northern Elders Forum in Kaduna on Monday.
The summit, according to the INEC ex-secretary, held in Kaduna because of the prevailing peace brought about by the decimation of the Boko Haram sect by the Buhari administration.
“Today, we meet in Kaduna in a vastly-improved security atmosphere, with the Boko Haram sect pinned to enclaves. Some will say thank you to President Buhari; we will say, you have delivered on one of your promises, which was to improve our security,” he said.
He further said the northern elders will not join those who say Buhari should stop reminding them of the past. “But we will join those who remind him daily that hunger is stalking millions of homes. Inflation is making life difficult by the day. People are losing their jobs. Businesses are closing down. Infrastructure is decaying. Young Nigerians are losing hope of being employed. Our hospitals are full of people who suffer mysterious illnesses, and they cannot afford the fees.”
Northern Governors Forum Chairman Gov. Kashim Shettima also said that nobody, be it the Indigenous People of Biafra or any other separatist agitators, can divide Nigeria.
He praised Buhari for fulfilling one of his promises of decimating the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East and other parts of the region.
The activities of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents had claimed over 20,000 lives since 2009 and rendered no fewer than two million people homeless.
According to the Borno governor, the current calls by some Nigerians particularly the Igbo and other ethnic nationalities in the country were purely the handiwork of those who had lost in the “chess of power politics” in the country.
He said the greatest tragedy that befell the country was the emergence of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, which made every effort to divide Nigeria with ethnicity and religion.