Some stakeholders in the North have stressed the need for Nigerians to embrace the younger generation in their search for a new President.
“We do not need an old man as President, who will be travelling every moment for treatment and spending the country’s resources abroad,” said Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher, yesterday.
Hagher, who is President of the African Leadership Institute USA and a former Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada, spoke at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) state secretariat in Lafia, Nasarawa State, while addressing members from the North Central zone.
He noted that the region has always supported other regions to produce the nation’s Presidents and now deserves its own good turn.
According to him, the country currently is “so divided and fragmented. We need a uniting force, which the North Central is known for, to emerge and reunite the country again”. Consequently, Hagher urged Nigerians to back the Presidential ambition of former Senate President Bukola Saraki, saying: “(He) is that young breed with wealth of experience at every cadre of governance to restore Nigeria to where we belong.”
Kawu Baraje, a former PDP National Chairman, also urged the party to consider Saraki as its presidential aspirant.
North Central PDP Chairman, Theophilus Dakarshan, appealed to other geopolitical zones to “reciprocate” the gesture by the region, a view re-echoed by Senator Solomon Ewuga.
The senator noted that PDP was born through efforts of the late Solomon Lar, who was from the region; hence North Central should be given a chance to field the next President.
ALSO, a group, Concerned Northern Forum (CNF), warned politicians above the age of 60 to stay away from the 2023 presidency.
It said what the country needs is a cosmopolitan leader, full of energy and vast in ideas, to take charge of affairs.
CNF spokesman, Abdulsalam Kazeem, said personal competence, health status, integrity and credibility must determine who becomes next President.
“The time has come. We are ready to give our mandate to those candidates below 60 years, with good manifestos, and political will to address our immediate, short-term and long-term problems, which have made us the poverty headquarters of the world, despite our population and abundant resources,” Kazeem added.
BUT former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, aged 75, yesterday, solicited support of the PDP in Benue State to help him win the party’s presidential ticket.
Speaking to PDP stakeholders in Makurdi, the state capital, leader of the Atiku Campaign Team, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, described Atiku as “mentally and physically fit, as well as sound to rule this country.”
He added: “He is coming to unite the country and not to discriminate because he has a very large network of relationship. For instance, his wives are from the West, East and North.”