The Convener of the Northern Elders’ Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, on Thursday, said “merit” should be the yardstick to measure who becomes the next president of Nigeria and not zoning.
According to the former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, those seeking to contest the nation’s topmost job should be allowed to do so on merit and not where they hail from.
This is just as he said that he presided over the controversial consensus process in which former Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Governor Bala Mohammed as “Prof. Ango Abdullahi” and “not on behalf of NEF, a position I made very clear at a press conference I addressed in Minna.”
The professor of Agronomy stated these when he received the leadership of the Coalition of Northern Groups who paid him a courtesy visit in Zaria, Kaduna State on Thursday.
He said, “The issue of zoning or power shift is dead and buried, candidates should be allowed to contest election on the basis of merit of their competence and not where they come from, hence the Northern Elders Forum is of the opinion that the presidential position should be left open for standard norms of the democratic process.
“They met former military Head of State, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, and told him they had concluded consultations on possible consensus candidate but failed to arrive at one person and requested him to assist and he called me and few others.
“The aspirants insisted on us choosing from among them but we told them it was not possible, so we consulted elders from across the North West, North Central and North East before Aminu Tambuwal and Atiku Abubakar withdrew from the process.
“All elders voted for first and second choice and Bukola Saraki and Governor Bala Mohammed tied and both of them were asked to either pick one among themselves or do further consultation on the best among them and our recommendation was signed by me as Ango Abdullahi and not on behalf of NEF, a position I made very clear at a press conference I addressed in Minnam.”