Blast Gen Onoja, Pam Wash For Giving Their Backing To President
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The Northern Leaders in its meting under the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) today laid blame on President Goodluck Jonathan of desperation and using state of resources to divide the North so as to get support from the region for his 2015 re-election bid.
In his opening speech at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Forum in Kaduna today, National Chairman of ACF, Alhaji Aliko Mohammed scolded retired General Lawrence Onoja and Senator John Wash Pam for their visit to President Jonathan under the semblance of the ACF, as he said; “We noticed with dismay that some members of this organization have gone to the President and assured him that he must contest for 2015 election. We are really surprised that some members that went there are also members of ACF. It is very sad that the Presidency has employed the divide and rule against the North. I am speaking particularly of two gentlemen; the two gentlemen I am referring to, one is ACF and the other is of Northern Elders Forum. The ACF is retired General Lawrence Onoja, he was actually part of the group that went to see the President. Also, one of the elders, Senator John Wash Pam was there.”
Speaking further, the ACF Chairman said; “It is the considered view of ACF that certain politics of 2015 is too early, it is counter-productive. Apart from heating up the politics, such early start can distract from governance, more so that INEC is yet to give the green light for political activities to begin. We were surprised that really they have gone to see the President, particularly Onoja that is here with us in ACF. We have gone with Onoja to every meeting we have held, and he turned round to say the President must contest in 2015, using the word, must. We went to Maiduguri together when we went to see Dr. Ahmed Datti, and Onoja was with us. He also made it possible for us when we went to Maiduguri to meet the leaders of the JTF and we had a long discussion till the early hours because the military had problem with the people and we think that if we intervene, things will be better.”
“He must have tried to see us, but we want to see him on our condition rather than on his own condition, we know if he comes to Kaduna, he will see us, and if we want to go with him to Abuja, we would have gone with him. But they can also organize where we can meet in Abuja if they cannot come to Kaduna. Whoever wants to see us, lets him come to Kaduna and see us. But they went and told the whole world that the North is now divided. The effort to come together is necessary for common vision, common goal and common strategies needed to negotiate from position of strength and secure some favourable terms in the polity,” the ACF leader said.
“ACF also wants to bring back all members of the Forum who have opted out and formed their own platforms in order to also speak for the same North. We were approached in the beginning of this year by the Northern Elders Forum to submit the list of all the groups in the North. We have set up a joint committee with our own member, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, the Sardauna Katsina, and Professor Ango Abdullahi is on the elders side. We have noticed really that for free and fair elections in 2015. We think that there should be only one election day. In Kenya, there was one day election for seven elections, that is the Presidency, Senate, House of Representatives, State Assemblies as well as local government, all in one day. I can’t see any reason why Nigeria will not do that.”
Speaking further he said; “We also feel that it is going to be cheaper, and all the security and other arrangements will be done same day. So if Kenya can do it, I see no reason why Nigeria cannot do it. It is the candid view of the ACF that certain politics for 2015 is counter-productive. I am of the view that we will pressure INEC to really think about our view and hold elections on the same day. Also during one of our visits to Kano, when we saw the Governor of the State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, he asked the ACF to reconcile the leadership of the North. I think it is very necessary now for ACF to really intervene about what is happening with the Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF). We are not talking about the Nigeria Governors Forum, we cannot even decide who lead them. We are talking about the Northern Governors Forum where two Governors have already withdrawn. It is something that we have to reconcile. I come from Bauchi State, I feel really unhappy that my Governor has withdrawn from the Northern Governors Forum.”