2023: PDP talks tough as Arewa youths ‘pick’ Buhari’s successor

A coalition of northern youths Wednesday said it would be wicked, grossly unfair and malicious for north to retain power beyond 2023 after President Muhammadu Buhari must have exited office.

The body said it would do all that is politically required to ensure an emergence of a youthful south-south candidate for the nation’s plum seat.

Speaking under the aegis of Arewa Youths Assembly, they said their decision to shop for a South-south candidate who should be in the age bracket of 40-50 years, was borne out of the fact that the northerners eyeing the seat were well above the age bracket.

They also said the northern region had enjoyed the nation’s number one seat for too long.

Addressing journalists in Kaduna, leader of the coalition, Mr. Mohammed Salihu Danlami said: “The North has occupied the leadership position of the country since independence, more than any other region. It is time for South-south youths to produce the next president in 2023 to complete their eight years of leadership. 

“Whosoever wants to emerge must have a global inter-disciplinary perspective, must engage in long term empirical planning, have a strong communication skills, must be able to prioritise social justice and well-being over financial growth.

“We seek to redefine the role and leadership development process of the country; we are charting a new path to national rebirth to put an end to the issues of recycling old politician for leadership. Nigerian is a nation standing half in the light of progress and promise and half in darkness of injustice. We live in a period of grave uncertainty. 

“As things now stand, we have no idea where the nation would be heading to if the North retains power in 2023. The greatest challenge facing Nigeria today is that of leadership. Nigeria needs a leader that the people can identify with and can inspire them to greater height.

“We are calling for power shift to the South-south. We need leaders with vision and passion because sound and visionary political leadership is vital for Nigeria’s peaceful coexistence. 

“Nigeria will be better positioned to achieve our collective ideal for peace and stability, development and progress when we have a youthful leader who is committed to prioritising the interest of the people and doing everything in his power to achieve these said goals while they have the mandate of leadership.

“With this timely intervention ahead of 2023, we are championing the course of a vibrant youth who is detribalised, a youth who has vision enough to foresee the needs of the people and must be compassionate enough to match these needs with actions.

“For Nigeria to progress, no time for experimentation, sentiments, tribalism or mediocrity, so, such a man must be strong enough, articulate and incorruptible, he must have a good sense of judgment, unquestionable integrity, be full of honour and moral courage. 

“A leader who is mentally alert, knowledgeable, exposed, a brilliant bridge builder who is cosmopolitan, energetic, eloquent, competent and having a wealth of knowledge of the dimension of national politics as to place the nation and its people in a mainstream politics of leadership development and social advancement,” the group said.

Buhari reassures on 2023

Meanwhile, President Buhari has again declared his readiness to quit office at the end of his tenure in 2023.

In a letter (published as an advertorial by Blueprint) to mark the 2020 New Year celebration in Abuja, the president said he would not be  part of any future  elections in the country.

The letter was titled “At New Year Nigeria’s Decade.”

He also said 2020 “is a time of hope, optimism and fresh possibilities.”

“I will be standing down in 2023 and will not be available in any future elections. But I am determined to help strengthen the electoral process both in Nigeria and across the region, where several ECOWAS members go to the polls this year,” he said.

The president said governance, especially the fight against violent extremists and cultists, has not been an easy task, stressing that he would do everything humanly possible to serve the country and its people.

“We have been fighting on several fronts: violent extremists, cultists and organised criminal networks. It has not been easy,” he further stated, saying government was nevertheless winning the war.

“We also look to the challenge of winning the peace, the reconstruction of lives, communities and markets.

“The North-east Development Commission will work with local and international stakeholders to help create a new beginning for the North-east,” he said.

PDP

And in its reaction, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said President Buhari and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), would have no other option than to exit office at the end of the present tenure.

The party, in a statement issued Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, described President Buhari’s new year message as “completely uninspiring, tasteless, repetitive, vacuous and does not galvanize any form of hope for a despairing nation like ours.

 “Mr. President should have the courage to issue a fresh New Year message to show remorse for the corruption, incompetence and misrule of his administration as well as admonish his disintegrating APC against its crass insincerity, violence and divisive machinations that have brought so much pain, anguish and despondency to our nation.

 “Indeed, President Buhari should stop presenting a picture as if he has the option to continue in office beyond 2023. 

“The PDP holds, in total submission to the letter and spirit of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), that it is not an issue of “standing down” or not being “available” for future election, but a decided and inevitable position as contained in our constitution that he must quit office after two terms which will end in 2023,” the opposition party further said.