By NBF News
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President Jonathan
A pan- Northern pressure group, Northern Elders Assembly, has expressed disgust over attempts to circumvent the principle of zoning and power rotation entered into by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), saying the ploy is unjustifiable and a contravention of the spirit of the arrangement for power to reside in Northern Nigeria for eight years.

The Assembly in a meeting in Abuja, last week, urged all Northerners, irrespective of party or political affiliations, to come together and present a united front in defending the right of the region to produce the next president of Nigeria in line with the arrangement already in place as the Southern part of the country had already had its turn.

In a communiqué, signed by a former minister during the regime of General Sani Abacha, Alhaji Bashir Mohammed Dalhatu and released in Kano on Sunday, the Assembly said it was ironic that the North was being shortchanged by the people it was trying to assist given that, 'Zoning and rotation formula was an innovation that originated from the North in order to make it possible for the minority elements, particularly, from  the South to be able to access power at the highest level in the political equation in Nigeria.'

The meeting chaired by a First Republic Acting Prime Minister, Alhaji Inuwa Wada had in attendance Northern elders such as Alhaji Bello Kirfi, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, Hajiya Laila Dogon Yaro, Alhaji Umaru Baba, Senator Abubakar Mahdi,  Alhaji Zangon Daura, among others.

The Assembly appealed to their respective state governors in the North 'to demonstrate exemplary leadership in this crusade and replicate the selfless and heroic sacrifices made by some of their predecessors against Obasanjo's attempt to elongate his tenure.'

The Assembly also objected to the way and manner the immediate past chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor was forced to resign his position simply because he insisted on the adherence to the party's zoning arrangement.

The Assembly equally frowned at the appointments made by President Goodluck Jonathan in the Ministry of Petroleum and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, saying they clearly amount to a violation of the Constitution he swore only recently to uphold.

In particular, they complained bitterly about the changes made in those outfits since the coming of the new administration, noting that, 'out of the 20 officials of the ministry, 10 are from the South-South geo political zone, the area where the President comes from, with the whole of the North having only four, while the South-East and the South-West have two each.'

The group said it would, therefore, send a high-level protest delegation to the President of the Senate and would also meet with the Northern caucuses in the both chambers of National Assembly to make a case against the emergence of those negative tendencies which, the leaders said, were capable of affecting the political stability of the country.

The assembly also planned to set up three different delegations, one per geopolitical zone within the North, to visit state governors, traditional rulers, religious and cultural bodies to brief them on the recent developments.

Also disturbing to the Northern Elders Assembly is the 'overwhelming and overbearing influence of former President Olusegun Obasanjo over President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration,' as the group argued that the presence of the former president would make it difficult for the administration to successfully fight corruption.

'It is clearly obvious that most Nigerians believe that former President Olusegun Obasanjo is himself, a strong suspect of corruption charges, which still remains to be investigated,' they concluded.