Northern Christian Forum backs Jonathan for 2011

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APPARENTLY kicking against the position of some leaders from the region who are insisting on zoning the Presidency to the North, the Northern Christian Elders Forum (NOCEF) yesterday rose from its quarterly meeting in Kaduna with a pledge to support President Goodluck Jonathan if he decides to seek election next year.

The elders declared that they and their people would not support the region to produce the president in 2011, but stressed that the only thing that may make them change their position was if the northern candidate was a Christian.

The Christian body noted the recent statements by some northern leaders who claimed that the region can still win the presidential election in 2011 without zoning, declaring that those who are still deceiving themselves with the concept of a monolithic north were living in the past and should wake up to the realities of things on the ground.

According to NOCEF, for a long time, Northern Christians have been so oppressed, marginalised and discriminated against in every sphere, in spite of their tremendous contribution to nation building, pointing out that when it comes to the struggle for political office, the only time when the so-called northern leaders remember Christians in the region is when they want to use them for their selfish political interest.

According to a communiqué signed by the National Chairman and Secretary of the forum, Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye and Mr. Iliya Yusufu, of all nine Nigerian leaders that came from the North (both military and civilian) the only Christian is Gen. Yakubu Gowon, pointing out that the late Tafawa Balewa, the late Gen. Murtala Mohammed, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, the late Gen. Sani Abacha, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar and the late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua were all Muslims.

The forum noted that the South- South, like the Christians in the north, had never produced the President in the past 50 years when Nigeria became an independent nation, saying it will be unthinkable for the oil region to have the chance now and throw it away.

The forum also dismissed the raging controversy surrounding the zoning principle in the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) saying that it is untenable.

NOCEF added: “President Jonathan should only concern himself about providing good leadership to the Nigerian masses and should not be distracted by self-seeking sectional politicians some of who are responsible for the problems facing this country.”

courtesy Guardian