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CIROMA, OTHERS ARE NOISEMAKERS -AHMED, NORTHERN RIGHTS ACTIVIST

By NBF News
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Former national deputy chairman of Campaign for Democracy, (CD) and secretary of the Nigerian Community Council in Ireland, Alhaji Abdullahi Ahmed, has raised his voice against the Northern Political Leaders Forum, (NPLF).

Ahmed who fled the country during former President Olusegun Obasanjo's third term moves, wants President Goodluck Jonathan to discontinue the discussion he has started with Mallam Adamu Ciroma and his NPLF:

'These are the people who mortgaged the interest of the northern youths when they were in power. They are talking of mobilizing northern votes against President Goodluck Jonathan. Why didn't they do that before or during the primary for their consensus aspirant? If they are relevant, are they not northerners that voted for the President during the primary.

'They sat at home and left Atiku alone at the Eagle Square. Obasanjo was there for the President, likewise Ekwueme and other elders from the South. Where were the northern leaders? Okay if they think they are popular, let them first of all mobilize their family members. Even within their families, you will see those that will antagonize them. Is Hajiya Mariam Inna Ciroma, wife of Mallam Adamu Ciroma in the same camp with her husband? They are just noise makers in the northern part of the country. Such people should be ignored.'

The pro-democracy activist also said most of the elite in the North have a moral burden to support Jonathan and that the reported deal between the former Head of State and Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) and former military president, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd) against Jonathan will fail.

Ahmed spoke with KENNY ASHAKA in a telephone interview. Excerpts:

Background
I am currently the Secretary of the Nigerian Community Council in Ireland and also Secretary of the Nigerian Islamic Council in Ireland. I was the Northern Coordinator for Campaign for Democracy, The Citizens Group Forum and The United Action for Democracy before I left the shores of Nigeria. Shortly before I left, I was the National Deputy Chairman of the Campaign for Democracy that is presently being headed by Dr. Joe Odumakin. I left Nigeria when the heat of the tenure elongation by former President Olusegun Obasanjo was at its peak. My life was at stake at that moment because all manners of threats were made on me and I decided to leave Nigeria for Ireland, although I had my family here (Ireland).

North should not begrudge South-South
Before I left, I was in the forefront for the agitation for the South-South and South-East presidency after Obasanjo. Eventually, in order to appease the North then, Obasanjo single handedly imposed the late Umaru Yar'Adua on Nigerians. Unfortunately, he passed on. I want to say categorically that the emergence of Jonathan is not the handiwork of Obasanjo, Babangida or Theophilus Danjuma.

Jonathan is the President today because he is a product of the struggle of Isaac Adaka Boro, Ken Saro-Wiwa and all the South-South activists who lost their lives in the cause of sticking to enthrone self-determination and equalization in the project called Nigeria. Now that Jonathan has come of age, he should not by any means jeopardize the struggle by chickening out of power. He should entrench the ideology of the late heroes and by extension of those of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alhaji Tafawa Balewa and Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto.

It is not as if Nigerians do not love the South-South and by extension Jonathan. The truth is that the South-South people are those that lay the golden egg. We shouldn't deceive ourselves in Nigeria because we do not have an entrenched democracy yet. What we are simply doing in Nigeria is politics of pacification. If Nigerians can pacify the Yoruba by allowing Obasanjo to emerge as Nigeria's President in 1999, why can't we concede same office to regions that are aggrieved as a result of political manipulations of the northern elite.

Now that the South-South people are having their turn to lead Nigeria, nobody should begrudge them. Every Nigerian should be able to support Jonathan so that he can spend another four years in office. When Jonathan leaves, the people of the South-East should have their turn. After the South-East, power should then go to the North, specifically to the North Central, to northern Christians.

If you take a critical look at the political leadership structure, the northern minorities have been seriously marginalized. Not until we have pacified every region in Nigeria, we are yet to play politics the way it ought to be played. After rotating the political leadership of this country along regional lines, we can now sit down and discuss. As it is now, we will all have to have a taste of power to appreciate it most.

I don't care if Jonathan spends eight years in office after all, what goes round must surely come around. Let me tell you why it must be a Christian when power is rotated to the North Central. Over the years, leadership in the North has been dominated by Moslems. And this has always been done to the detriment of the minorities in the North who are largely Christians. All we should do now is to try and balance power in such a way that all the regions in Nigeria have a taste of the leadership of this country. Let us give those who have not tasted power the chance to also feel that they have the capability and potentials to be recognized in that entity called Nigeria. Nobody is interested in breaking up Nigeria.

On Jonathan's discussion with Ciroma and NPLF
Let me tell you something about Adamu Ciroma and all of them that have gathered to call themselves northern political leaders. Over the years, these people have beclouded the senses of young northerners with outdated ideas. People of the ages of Mallam Adamu Ciroma and Buhari should not be taken seriously because these are people that have outlived their political relevance in Nigeria.

For the number of years they have been in the saddle, of what benefit have their stay in power been to the average northerner? We are the poorest today. We have since discovered that when people from other regions are in power, northerners benefit more. So, what are they talking about? Is it in the area of industrialization they have done well? Is it in education, agriculture?

Where are the groundnut pyramids?
I advise northerners to ignore the Ciromas of the North. The northern masses should ask for their heads for years of unfulfilled dreams. As it is now, I don't think Jonathan should discuss with the so-called Northern Political Leaders Forum led by Ciroma. I strongly advise the President against that. These people are seeking relevance. They do not represent the North.