*Says anyone who wants to leave can do so
The Director, Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, at the weekend said nothing will happen if a Northerner takes over from President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
The spokesman of NEF also said the North has the numbers to retain the presidency and urged those from the region not to allow themselves to be treated as second class citizens.
Dr Hakeem gave this charge to Northerners while delivering a keynote address at the maiden Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series organised by the students wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria.
He said the North will not accept to serve as a second fiddle in 2023, when as a he said the region has the population to clinch the number one position.
He said: “The North is not for sale and Northerners will surprise those waiting for them to queue up in 2023 and be given money in exchange for their votes.”
Hakeem posited that anyone who does not want a Northerner as President should leave the country if the region clinches the presidency in 2023.
He also charged the organisers to be proud of who they are, challenging them not to accept being treated as second-class citizens in their own country.
“We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before, whether we are President or Vice President, we will lead Nigeria. We have the majority of the votes and the democracy says vote whom you want.
“Why should we accept second class position when we know we can buy a form and contest for first class and we will win?
“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us. We will get that power, but be humble because power comes from God. Being honest is not being stupid.
“There are Nigerians who believe that because the economy of the North is being crumbled; we are running away from insecurity, we are politically vulnerable, they think they can buy us for 2023 but they are making a mistake.
“We are ready for this; we will consider every economic adversity, challenge, we will fix the Northern economy and we are the only one who can fix this Northern economy. For that reason, we are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the North and we will rebuild the North from 2023.”
Baba-Ahmed said whether the North holds power in 2023 or not, anybody who wants to break up in this country will continue say so, as they were just looking for excuses.