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OPINION: Hakeem Baba-Ahmed and his recent speech on a Northerner becoming president in 2023

Hakeem Baba-Ahmed is the spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum. He is one that does not succumb to light and indirect ways of speaking about matters that are of interest to the North. The report has it that the fiery spokesman said "heaven will not fall if a northerner is elected the next Nigerian President". He chose the maiden Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture Series held at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, to deliver a lot of salvos.

The address he gave was a rally call to Northern youths. A call for them to take their destiny into their hands as it relates to the challenge thrown at them by Southern governors and the general insecurity that is threatening to consume the North.

When Southern governors held meetings and took positions on who would become the next president of Nigeria, open-grazing and VAT, it was well within their rights.

Hakeem Baba-Ahmed seems to have taken a cue from the Southern governors. The things he spoke about and the stand he maintained were well within the rights and privileges permissible under a democracy.

As a Southerner, if you are pained, get a grip of yourself. It is only normal for everyone to push their advantage. At the end, various interests will be resolved. There is work to be done. Southerners need to get down to it. Power belongs to God, and God gives it to whoever He wills.

The North mentioned by Hakeem Baba-Ahmed must be the North that now exists only in books and history. There is no longer one North that is politically homogeneous. He seems to have forgotten that no two geopolitical zones alone can produce the president of Nigeria. To conclusively ascribe to the North that power is theirs, head or tail, reminds the rest of us of what had been before the year 1999.

As Hakeem Baba-Ahmed asserts his rightful claim, he forgot the place of negotiations. He downplayed the gravity of the ongoing squabbles over secession. He undermined the existence of Nigeria with the air with which he made his position known.

The fireworks for the 2023 presidential elections are on. We expect stakeholders from all zones to guide their utterances in order not to plunge the country into an irreversible crisis that we will all regret.

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Hakeem Baba-Ahmed Leadership Lecture Series Maitama Sule Northern Southern

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