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NORTHERN THIRD FORCE SEEKS FRESH DEAL WITH JONATHAN

By NBF News

Following the disagreement between the Chief Solomon Lar and Mohammed Dikko Yusuf-led Northern elders groups over the dicey issue of zoning of the 2011 presidency, a new group under the aegis of the Northern Third Force, has emerged to seek fresh deal with President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Northern Third Force, led by former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Saidu Dansadau, which had been meeting at the Apo Legislative Quarters in Abuja, is working to ensure that the Northern region is strategically situated to partake in the 2011 presidential elections by dousing tension in the region to allow for genuine negotiation with President Jonathan when he eventually declares his intention to contest.

The Lar Northern elders group has been urging President Jonathan to not only ignore the zoning arrangement of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), but also to run for the presidential elections.

To further drum home their support, the Lar group has concluded plans to organize a massive rally to impress on Jonathan to contest the election, arguing that the zoning arrangement had no force of law, but a mere agreement reached to address a specific issue in 1999.

On the contrary, the Alhaji M.D. Yusufu Northern political leaders which met in Abuja about three weeks ago to map out strategy towards ensuring the upholding of the PDP zoning arrangement, last week stormed the venue of the Northern Governors' Forum to cavass the need for all political stakeholders to respect the gentleman's agreement reached by the ruling by PDP.

Concerned about the divergent views of the two opposing Northern elders, the Nothern Third Force made up of mainly younger generation amongst whom are Chief Solomon Ewuga, former Minister of State, FCT, Alhaji Abba Dabo (Kano), Ambassador Yusuf Mamman, Mr John Balami, Hon. Barminas Yilkes and Suleiman Hunkuyi as interim management team, noted that if the Lar and Yusuf northern elders groups were allowed to continue with their sharp rivalry over the issue of zoning, it might spell doom for the unity and needed harmony of the Northern region.

Daily Sun gathered that the Northern Third Force which critically reviewed the emerging political development in the country at its series of meetings, noted that the Lar and Yusuf groups' activities are capable of polarizing the North along ethno/religious divides which they considered as not only unhealthy but dangerous for the political interest of the region.

'We have no choice at this critical stage than to come out to intervene over the ugly situation. We created the Third Force made up of dynamic and agile people in order to enhance the unity and pan-Northern agenda irrespective of political or religious affiliation,' a member of the group told Daily Sun in confidence.

The Northern Third Force, according to Daily Sun sources, resolved to drum the need for the region not to undermine the goodwill and support the region had enjoyed from its allies since pre-independence.

As part of measures aimed at achieving its action plan, members of the Northern Third Force have concluded plans to meet with all the two main rivals in the North after which they are expected to proceed to meet with other stakeholders from the three geo-political zones of the Southern part of the country.