Northern Christians Demand 2015 Presidential Slot, Regionalism

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PostAdmin on 9th October 2012, 2:15 pm

Northern Christians demand 2015 presidential slot

• Allege marginalisation

• Reject govs peace forum

• Want return to regionalism

A MAJOR political hurdle the northern leaders will have to overcome in their bid for the presidency in 2015 is whether to present a Muslim or Christian as presidential candidate. This new subject matter is coming to the burner as the Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NORSEF) claims it is the turn of a Christian from the North to govern the nation.

According to the Arewa Christian leaders, in a statement issued after an emergency meeting in Kaduna, the core northern Moslems have had enough share of the presidential slot in governing Nigeria since independence in 1960.

The NORSEF Chairman, Evangelist Mathew Owojaiye and Secretary, Mr. Iliya Yusuf, said Christians from the region would vehemently resist a situation where Muslim politicians would come out for the 2015 presidential contest.

Owojaiye argued that “we the Christians boldly affirm that the next person to be president of this country from the north must be a Christian”, alleging that they have long been marginalised by the Arewa leaders in the political equation concerning the region.

The Christian elders listed former Nigerian leaders, according to them, to show how the Arewa leaders have, in the past, marginalised Northern Christians. “The north has produced Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Murtala Muhammed, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Gen. Sani Abacha, Gen. Abubakar Abdulsalam and Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.

“You can see that out of these nine persons, the Northern Christians have only Gen. Yakubu Gowon. If we are to consider elective presidents, we have Balewa, Shagari and Yar’Adua. The Northern Muslims have produced three elective presidents while the Christians from the North have produced none. Justice, equity and fairness demand that the next president of Nigeria from the North must be a Christian; nothing less than that should happen”.

Besides, the NORSEF leaders condemned the alleged marginalisation of the Christians in the North, which has continued unabated, recalling that recently, “the Federal Government gave N5 billion to the Muslim almagiri school system and gave nothing to the Christians”.

Owojaiye said “such unjust, unfair and discriminatory action is totally unacceptable to the northern Christians. President Goodluck Jonathan, the Northern Christians are waiting for their N5 billion for 2012. The national lawmakers should see to this urgently.

“Some states governments in the north refuse the teaching of Christian religious studies in their public schools even when voluntary organisations are ready to pay the CRS teachers. The Northern Governors Peace Forum, while commendable, is unacceptable to us because the committee is lopsided, with 30 Muslims and only 11 Christians.”

On the high level of insecurity in the north, the Chairman of NORSEF said the group “condemns in its totality, the savage, wicked and barbaric action of the terrorists roaming the northern part of this country, especially the recent attacks at the Federal Polytechnic, School of Health Technology and the Adamawa State University, all in Mubi, and the State Polytechnic in Yola.”

According to the NORSEF, “the perpetrators of this wicked act and their sponsors must be fished out and tried for treason. Nobody must be seen to be above the law in Nigeria.”

As part of measures to reduce the level of crime in the country, the Christian group said “thousands of university graduates roaming the streets jobless should be employed into the secret service and given adequate security training”, stressing that “this will solve so many problems; it will reduce unemployment, it will reduce crime, it will beef up our security system and make the nation a safer place to dwell in.”

NORSEF said “the Federal Government must understand that Christian leaders are being put in a very difficult position. Why must we keep apologising to our people on behalf of the Federal Government? Why must we keep telling our people to be calm in the face of such provocations, slaughter and terrorist acts? Why is the Federal Government making us cowards, inactive and incapable leaders to protect our people and fight for their interest? Our youths are becoming restless and furious. We urge the Federal Government to show that they are truly in control. This nation is fast becoming a failed state”.

The northern Christian leaders stated that “in two years time, we shall be reviewing the 100 years of the forceful amalgamation of Nigeria. Those who are insisting that Nigeria must remain one have just two years to stop all the killings, looting and the maladministration. There will be no nation called Nigeria if things remain like this.”

The NORSEF leaders also pointed out that for Nigeria to remain as a nation, there is need to restructure the polity.

“We do not want the six geo political zones inserted in the constitution. It should go further than that; six or eight regions should be created. Each region should be semi-autonomous and self-governing. They should pay tax to the Federal Government. The states should be retained. One senator should emerge per state. Each state should produce two members of the House of Representatives.”

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