A Northern group, Arewa Concerned Civil Society Organisations of Nigerian (ACCSON) has said that in the interest of fairness and equity, the Presidency in 2023 should go to the Southeast, even as it lamented that the North has turned into a human abbattoir under the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The group lambasted Alhaji Yerima Shettima, President of Arewa Consultative Youth Forum, describing a statement attributed to him to the effect that “It is too late for the 2023 Presidency to be zoned to the southeast,” as “indecorous and even outrightly provocative and inciting in nature.”
This was contained in a statement signed by Comrade Abdulsalam Mohammed Kazeem, the group’s spokesperson.
ACCSON, umbrella body of over 40 CSOs, youth , students and women groups in the North, said it considered the said statement attributed to Yerima as a reckless one devoid of reason, empathy, and fairness.
“We strongly believe that no genuine democrat with sincere national interest and who cherishes the spirit of unity and corporate existence of Nigeria will utter such insensitive comments at this critical political time in our country,” he said.
“For the sake of the records and for posterity, the said statement by Alhaji Yerima Shettima does not, in any way, represent the recent position of our umbrella youth coalition, the Arewa Concerned Civil Society Organizations of Nigeria, that the Presidency of Nigeria in 2023 should be specifically zoned to the South East geo-political zone, in the interest of political equity and fairness.”
“We openly made this declaration recently during the inauguration of our group at the Arewa House in kaduna. Therefore, the statement by Shettima stands condemned in it’s totality by our group ACCSON, and we expect Nigerians and particularly the media to treat the statement purely as the personal opinion of Yerima Shettima, a former youth activist from our northern region.”
“The basis of our position on the said statement credited to Shettima are as follows:That the Nigerian National Youth Policy (2009) described a youth as a person between the ages of 15 to 35 years-old. The African Youth Charter defines a youth as somebody within the age brackets of 15 to 35 years-old. While the United Nations categorized such person as one who is between 15 to 24 years-old respectively.”
“So, going by the above definitions, Alhaji Yerima Shettima is not a youth and can not be classified as one. He is far above the age of 35 years, and as such, his statement remains a personal one and not that of the Arewa Youths.”
“It is noteworthy to restate here, that the position of our group, the Arewa Concerned Civil Society Organizations of Nigeria (ACCSON) calling for the rotational presidency among the six geo political zones of the country was as a result of our peculiar regional experiences. Both past and present crop of elected and appointed leaders from within our region have failed us completely. They have failed to meet up with the expectations of our people, and have continued to betray our trust, confidence, and respect for them.”
“For instance, from 1999 to date (which is 22 years now), the North West and North East Zones have produced president, Vice president, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senate Presidents, and Speakers of the House of Representatives. The North Central Zone alone has produced two Senate Presidents in 12 years; a Deputy Senate president and a Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. Our three zones of the northern region, in total, have produced more Ministers, Services Chiefs and Heads of Governments Agencies more than any other region, yet there is nothing on ground to show for it.”
“They only leverage on our population advantage, which though is an added advantage in a democratic setting. The said population is only useful to our region during electioneering period. The major benefit of a population advantage in economics is that it remains attractive to both the multi- national and trans-national companies that would want to site industries in such location in other to maximize their market and get very cheap labour.”
“Our northern region today has been reduced to a human abattoir, to say the least, where all our communities have been converted to a mass grave due to the failure of government at all levels. For instance, between October 2021 till date, over 150 citizens of northern extraction have been murdered by terrorists in Sokoto state alone, not to talk of Zamfara, Kebbi, Kaduna, Katsina, Niger, Benue, Borno and Yobe States. Despite the claims by government that terrorism and violent insurgency is aggressively being fought, the north has remained a killing field.”
“Our country is about the highest importer of Arms and Ammunition in Africa and our region is seemingly the poverty capital of Nigeria, yet our people occupied and are still occupying the most sensitive positions in government from 1999 till Date.”
“We are not sycophants of government, but we are patriotic northerners too, with history of respect for constituted authority and for our elders”
“It is therefore the position of our northern umbrella youths coalition, the Arewa Concerned Civil Society Organizations of Nigeria (ACCSON), that since our people in leadership positions in Nigeria can not bring development, peace, progress, and prosperity to our region, let us try people of other regions, particularly the region or geo-political zone that has not produced a President or Vice president of Nigeria in other to further promote fairness, equity, unity or oneness of the country. Long Live, Nigeria!”