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By NBF News
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Minister of State for Information and Communication, Labaran Maku, has said the strong tradition of leadership that existed in the North had been bastardised for monetary gains. Maku, a former deputy governor of Nassarawa State, who spoke yesterday on the topic, 'The Media, Religion and the Sustenance of Democracy,' during the NUJ Press Week of Kaduna State council, also lamented that Northern leaders believed in sectional politics that would not guarantee the development of the entire nation.

He, therefore, called on new generation Northerners to team up with other Nigerians to elect credible leaders that could salvage Nigeria from various problems facing it just as he tasked the media to report all political activities without bias.

'The new generation of Northern leaders must learn from the early Northerners and begin to learn and put ourselves in a situation we can give proper leadership and I know that we can do it. There is nothing wrong, the North has a very strong tradition of leadership.

'So, we have laid off that tradition. It is the tradition of stealing money that is now very popular, and that cannot continue forever because many people are dying in poverty. This should not be the case.

'I think we are moving forward. Therefore I am calling on us, those who believe in this country, and to believe that every Nigerian has a right to rule Nigeria provided that he can show his credentials.

'I don't want a president from my village, I want a president who will develop my village. That is the truth. I don't want a president from my village, I want a president of Nigeria who has an agenda for the development of my village. A president from my village who has no agenda for development will cripple all us here and that is what has happened to the North. So, we need to move forward, and moving forward means we, the younger generations of Northerners and Nigeria, should embrace each other. Let us have the confidence.

'The 2011 general elections provide us the ample opportunity to correct so many wrongs of the past by electing credible leaders with the fear of God who will put public service above other personal interests.

'The present administration under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan has vowed to conduct free, fair and credible election next year to enable Nigerians choose leaders who will fulfill revamping the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) through appointment of neutral persons of widely acknowledged integrity.

' When there was allegation of partisanship against some of the nominated INEC commissioners, the President swiftly replaced them as a sign of his commitment to the conduct of credible elections in 2011 and beyond. The sufficient funding of the electoral body also lends credence to his resolve to ensure free and fair elections where every vote must count.

'But it should be noted that presidential commitment alone cannot ensure credible elections. Since it is a civic duty, it is necessary for the media to enlighten the public on their responsibilities before, during and after election. The electorate needs to be informed by the media on the programmes and attributes of the contestants to enable them to make the right choices and subsequently to monitor elected leaders to ensure that they fulfill their campaign promises,' Labaran stated.