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President Goodluck
Two different Northern elders groups yesterday in Kaduna differed on whether President Goodluck Jonathan should contest the 2011 presidency.

While the group led by Mohammed Dikko, the former Inspector General of Police, insisted that Jonathan should not contest the 2011 presidential election, the group led by former national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Solomon Lar was, however, democratic about the issue, saying:

'We have come to discuss the issues that are going on in Nigeria and we're trying to find a solution to the problems that are trying to crop up in the polity of this country and we had a wonderful and useful discussion with the excellencies, and we believe that a solution to the problem will soon be found and Nigeria will take its rightful place among countries of the world.'

The two northern political leaders' groups made their differences known before the Northern governor,s meeting yesterday in Kaduna.

The Mohammed Dikko group comprised notable politicians, including Professor Jerry Gana, the former governor of old Kaduna State, Lawal Kaita, former Senate president, Iyorcha Ayu, They said the turn of the North in 2011 elections should not be truncated, 'simply because we lost our son, Umaru Musa Yar' Adua.'

The Solomon Lar group, which comprised the former national chairman of PDP, Barnabas Germade, the former governor of Kogi State, Abubakar Audu, the newly appointed Special Adviser to the President on Special Duty, Senator Isaiah Balat insisted on political summit to discuss the 2o11 presidency.

According to the spokesperson of the Dikko group, Senator Iyorcha Ayu, 'As you all know very well the Northern governors are our governors in the 19 Northern states and are meeting here to discuss the issues that are affecting the North as a whole and we are here as members of the northern political elders with the delegation led by former I G of police, Alhaji M. D. Yusuf. 'He is the leader of the delegation and we are here to talk to our governors about the future development of the North and particularly the current political development in the country.

'We have expressed our views about the issue of the presidency in particular and we have come to intimate them on the argument and why we think that the president of the country for the next four years should still be in the north. Our arguments are simple and we had made this public when we met in Abuja few weeks ago.

'That it is only fair that after president Olusegun Obasanjo's presidency which was facilitated by the north for eight years that the northern part of the country should not be truncated just like that because our son, the late Umaru Musa Yar'Adua died.

'And that the North should produce the next president after which it will still go back to the South. It is for the interest of unity and stability of the country. 'That if the zoning of the presidency to the North is truncated it may affect the zoning arrangement even in the states where zoning does take place. We are not against our southern counterparts. In fact we believe that the rotation will serve our southern counterparts better and we believe that any key person in the southern part of the country, who is interested in running for the presidency should please wait till 2015.

'We believe that we will give that support, but if at the end of the day, our wish is not respected because it is a democracy and we cannot compel anybody and we have made it clear to the governors that this is actually our position. It is a position for unity and stability of the country.'

Meanwhile, the 19 northern governors rose from their meeting in Kaduna yesterday with a resolution to involve all stakeholders in the decision whether or not the North would support President Goodluck Jonathan for the 2011 presidential election. The governors, however, said the current debate on the matter across the country should continue, believing that it was healthy for the polity.

In their communiqué read by the Chairman of the Forum and Niger State Governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, the governors said having listened to various political views on the matter, they resolved to go back to their various states and consult with the people on the matter. The communiqué read in part: 'We looked at one very important issue that has become a national concern and we noted that zoning was conceptualized with the best interest of Nigeria at heart whereby the presidential candidate for the presidency will move from North to South and we know that it is an excellent way to resolve many problems and ensure the unity and progress of our people.

'We note that this issue has been generating a lot of problems and many people have been discussing it. We encourage this discussion to continue so that an amicable solution can be arrived at. However, beyond zoning, we know the importance of producing competent and performing leadership for the country. 'We also appreciated a democratic balance, the need for discussion and dialogue on all matters concerning the unity and progress of northern states within the context of a united Nigeria. As a result, we resolved to provide leadership on these matters and all matters concerning the unity and progress of our states.

'The forum had the opportunity to listen to various groups of elders and we looked at all their concerns and these are the issues that have been bothering us and we advised them to dialogue among themselves so that we can get a consensus as to the actual position on the matter.

'We also said we will go back to our various states and meet with stakeholders so that we can resolve this matter once and for all. We have given ourselves a deadline but that is not for public consumption at the moment.

'All discussions should continue at the various levels, but we do believe that this is an issue we can surmount without any difficulty. So, people should not be apprehensive. We resolved to provide that leadership as we have been doing and we will do it in consultation with all the stakeholders.'