PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY: ACF CONDEMNS JONATHAN'S EMERGENCE
The wisdom and maturity, shown yesterday by the chairman of the foremost northern socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Major General Ibrahim Haruna (retd), saved the meeting from degenerating into a free-for-all, Daily Sun learnt.
This is even as the group came hard on the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, describing the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan, as the candidate of the party for this year's presidential election, as legally and morally wrong.
In a communiquÃ© signed by the group's Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, and made available to newsmen at the end of its meeting, yesterday evening, the group noted that 'following an extended review of the just concluded primary elections in the country, the meeting came to the conclusion that the process within most of the major political parties fell short of the expectations of Nigerians as they were thoroughly compromised by an appalling lack of internal democracy within the parties.
'Manipulations, intimidations and other illegalities (were employed). These practices will greatly undermine our democracy and make it almost impossible for otherwise credible people to participate in the electoral process in the future.
'In particular, the ACF is disappointed with the outcome of the primary elections in the ruling party, the PDP. The emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as its presidential candidate is legally and morally wrong because it is a violation of that party's constitution which clearly requires that under the zoning/rotation formula, a northerner be returned as candidate in the 2011 elections. In this regard, and in the light of its principled stand on fairness and rule of law, the ACF rejects the outcome of the PDP presidential primaries.'
The meeting, Daily Sun learnt, had hardly commenced, when some members openly challenged the chairman to explain why an impeachment proceeding should not be commenced against him for allegedly absenting himself from six consecutive meetings of the group, where crucial and critical decisions were taken concerning zoning, before the various parties held their presidential primaries.
Although, the chairman's tenure ends this month, and he is entitled to a second term, members opposed to his style of leadership, because he vehemently opposed the position of ACF on zoning, had planned to remove him yesterday, believing that he would not be attending yesterday's meeting.
But when he showed up at the meeting, which was aimed at meeting with the various Presidential candidates, the aggrieved members changed tactics and decided to confront the chairman openly, ostensibly to embarrass him, a situation that resulted in pandemonium, as the chairman was openly accused of being anti-north.
One of the leaders told Daily Sun in confidence that 'the meeting became much tensed when this issue came up and many members were asking for the head of the chairman who has not been attending meetings for almost six consecutive times in the past.
' But, to make the matter worse, the former secretary of the Political committee, Alhaji Abdulrahman Muhammad stood up to defend the chairman when he said that the agenda of the day was not to discuss the issue of the Chairman's behaviour towards the Forum in the past and his anti- Arewa stance on national political issues.
'It took the wisdom of some of the elders to make sure that there was no pandemonium during the meeting, and they later suspended the discussion on General Haruna's removal from office and faced the issue of the day.'
Once normalcy returned, the National Working Committee (NEC) of the ACF met with the representatives of the Northern Presidential candidates of the various political parties contesting the forthcoming elections.
Among those who sent representatives to meet with the Arewa leaders, were the Vice President, Alhaji Namadi Sambo who was represented by Ambassador Hassan Adamu, one of the leaders of the Jerry Gana-led Northern Political Forum; the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) Candidate, Governor Ibrahim Shekarau was represented by Alhaji Ahmed Ibrahim Yakkasai (Kano state commissioner for Lands and Survey and Shekarau's Campaign coordinator), Professor Iya Abubakar, represented ACN's presidential candidate, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, while the Congress For Progressive Change ( CPC) Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (Rtd) only sent a message of solidarity to the meeting.
Speaking with newsmen before going into another session, a chieftain of ACF and member of the Executive Council, Alhaji Ahmed Hassan Alghazali said that President Goodluck Jonathan has broken the political bond between the north and the south for allegedly imposing himself as PDP Presidential candidate for 2011.
He said 'against our will, we allowed Obasanjo to contest the presidency in 1999 in order to allow the rotational presidency take root. When Obasanjo misruled this country for eight years and it came to our, these people turned blind eye and say no.
'If Jonathan is voted in the next presidential election, he will not vacate power; he will remain there and even work against the Nigerian Federation. He may even bring about the break up of this country as Sudan is presently going through. So, we will not allow this to happen.
'We cannot go for any other political parties because PDP rules this country whether by hook or crook. They control all the machinery. Nobody is going to any general election. There should not be any election because it is going to be a farce'.
'We cannot continue like this because for everything there is a beginning and there is an end. This is the end of the fraud in Nigeria. The only option now is for them to extend time for the election and go back to the normal primary election system whereby members of political parties are allowed to decide candidates to vote. PDP did not have any primaries at all. There may be no Nigeria after this election and I hope it does not take place.'