The Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) yesterday revealed that the north was not satisfied with the performance of President Muhammadu Buhari, especially his handling of security challenges in the north.
NYLF, a coalition of 42 youth organizations in the north, recommended the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, among others, for the 2023 presidential contest.
NYLF’s National Chairman, Mr. Elliot Afiyo made this disclosure during an interactive session with journalists in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
Also at the session, Afiyo disclosed that six presidential aspirants had directly sought the support of the forum for the 2023 presidential contest, though claimed that it had not promised to support any of the aspirants.
He said the forum supported and voted for Buhari in 2015 not because they considered him as the best candidate for the North, but because he was the best candidate to be used to chase out former President Goodluck Jonathan.
In 2019, he observed that the coalition knew that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar would definitely win the election, but would not be allowed due to what he described as a political conspiracy against him.
He said: “We decided as a forum, not to waste our resources, time, and energy to support him. We could not also campaign for Buhari because we were not happy or satisfied with the performance of his administration, especially the security situation in the north.”
Afiyo, Secretary-General of the Association of West African Monarchs, noted that the forum directed and supported its state chapters in the areas of mobilization and election of individual candidates instead of parties.
He said: “That was why PDP won in some states and APC also won in other states. Many people did not understand the political mathematics and scheming that resulted in victory and defeat. But we knew what we did.”
Afiyo said the only asset the northerners “are left within a political dispensation in Nigeria is political supremacy and power because of its collective determination, political unity coupled with their numerical strength.”
He said: “In NYLF, we believe Northwest has produced two presidents and a vice president. We believe it is the turn of the Northcentral or Northeast to produce the president or vice president, which must be fully endorsed and supported by the Northwest.
“We have over two million of our members from the Northwest. We have all agreed not to support any candidate from the zone in 2023 in the best interest of the north.
“This is not a political threat. If anybody from the Northwest believes they can dominate the other two zones in the North, let them try it in 2023,” Afiyo said.
He said NYLF “is the umbrella body of 42 northern youth groups formed by the northern political, traditional, religious and military elites in 1990 with a membership of over four million northern youths across the country.”
He added that NYLF had been engineering the process of producing presidents in Nigeria since 2003, suggesting that other regions should be allowed to produce a president to strike a balance and douse tensions in the country.
In the Southwest, the forum recommended the National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu; Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo and Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.
He noted that Nigeria would get a perfect combination in 2023 if any of them was paired with Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai; Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje; Plateau State Governor, Senator Simon Lalong, and Kebbi State Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Bagudu.
He claimed that the forum had penciled down a former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan; Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum; Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed; a former Gombe State Governor, Senator Danjuma Goje, Prof. Babagana Zulum from the Northeast for the 2023 race.
He said: “We will have a near-perfect ticket if any of these politicians are chosen to pair with Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, Delta State Governor, Senator Okowa, Cross Rivers Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, Chairman Emeritus of Daar Communications, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, a former Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, a former Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha; a former Abia State Governor, Senator Orji Kalu,”
Afiyo said political leaders had concluded plans for the 2023 presidential election.
He cited a recent meeting in Abuja where the only agenda was 2027 presidential arrangement, noting that the country’s political leaders had their short-term, medium-term and long-term plans just like economists.