Ahead of the 2023 presidential election, Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, has said Nigerian youth won’t allow presidential aspirants above 60 years of age to rule the country.
Fayemi, who is also the governor of Ekiti state, called on the youth to launch themselves into the Nigerian political terrain in the 2023 general elections and dictate who becomes president and governors of the 36 states.
For now, 69-year-old former Governor of Lagos state and National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is being speculated to have his eyes on the nation’s number one seat.
Call on Tinubu
Various groups, including South-West Agenda (SWAG) – the one led by a former minister, Mr Dayo Adeyeye – have been canvassing Tinubu presidency, saying he is very qualified to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
SWAGA had, at different times, visited prominent monarchs in the South-west, including the Alaafin of Oyo Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II and the Olubadan of Ibadan Oba Saliu Akanmu Adetunji, to drum up support for Tinubu candidacy in 2023.
On Tinubu’s competence, the former minister said: “All along, we have said that Tinubu didn’t ask us to commence this sensitisation project. We are only sensitising people on the merits of his candidacy. We are making people know why he is eminently qualified to lead this country at a time like this.
“We, a group of like-minded people comprising people who have been in the National Assembly, ministers, important politicians and non-politicians, decided to urge him to throw his hat into the ring and contest for the presidency of Nigeria. We know that he would accept this challenge by coming out to run for the presidency of this country.”
But speaking Thursday at the National Youth Summit and Conference organised by the Nigerian Youth Congress (NYC) in Abuja, Governor Fayemi said the youth won’t allow individuals above 60 years to rule the country in 2023.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Federal Matters, Hon. Makinde Araoye, Governor Fayemi, who chaired the occasion, called on the youth to take charge in 2023.
He said aside political offices; their energy and wisdom would also be useful in other aspects of the nation’s economy.
“We have 2022 and 2023 elections around the corner, and in the new dispensations that are coming up, what is our role? Are we going to be blocking the Toll gates? Are we going to be burning the national flag? Are we going to be tweeting #ENDSARS#; or are we going to grab the mantle of power that we have now to dictate who the next president of Nigeria will be; and who the next governors in Nigeria will be?
“One thing I can tell you is that we, the Nigerian youths, are not going to allow anyone above the age of 60 years to run for president. Nigerians have suffered enough. Enough is enough. It is not by saying, we have to go into action and we have to mobilise.”
In his remarks, Chairman, NYC Governing Board, Dr Yakub Shedam, said with proper government direction, the Nigerian youths would curb banditry.
Shedam also called on the federal government to include members of the group in its programmes and politics, saying “the NYC is apolitical. It is rather a movement to actualize a one -Nigeria for the youth that is devoid of religious and ethnicity biases.”
Also speaking, NYC President Comrade Blessing Akinlosotu, said the Nigerian youths formed 65-70 percent of the country’s population.
“How has this great numerical strength being translated into good governance / leadership and economic prosperity?” he quipped.
Arewa group on power shift
Meanwhile, Arewa Mandate Initiative (AMI) has thrown its weight behind power shift to the southern part of Nigeria in the 2023 contest for the nation’s presidency.
The group’s position was contained in a statement by Malam Muhammad Mubarak and Alhaji Aminu Muhammed, coordinator and secretary of the group respectively Thursday in Abuja.
In the statement, a copy of which was made available to Blueprint, the group said it had consulted widely in various geo-political zones of the country.
“Flowing from our engagements with various All Progressives Youths groups, across the North, the Arewa Mandate Initiative, AMI, wishes to announce that majority of the APC, members support that the presidency should move to the south, after President Muhammadu Buhari leaves in 2023.
“This consensus was reached after months of serious consultations with the youth groups and major stake holders in the party, spread across all the three geo-political zones of the north-west, north- central, and the north-east.
“The Arewa Mandate Initiative, which has been spearheading the support for power shift to the south, had conducted three major rounds of surveys among the APC supporters, on the 2023 presidential power shift, and found that majority of the APC family fully support that power should move to the south in line with the gentleman agreement reached by the leaders of the party in 2015.
“In line with this popular demand, the AMI hereby wishes to urge those who might be nursing the presidential ambition from the North, to shelve the idea in the interest of our party and national unity.
“While the Arewa Mandate Initiative recognises the right of all Nigerians to seek for any elective office of their choice as this is a constitutionally guaranteed rights, it would however urge northern politicians to let go of their presidential ambition, as part of their own sacrifice for the unity and stability of Nigeria.
“The AMI, in furtherance of the search for a president from the south that could match the pedigree and patriotic credentials of President Muhammadu Buhari, has beamed its search lights on some individuals that may be the choice acceptable across the board, for the north and south.
“Though certain individuals in the south have been identified as likely choices for the presidency, the Mandate group has decided to keep things under wraps for now to allow for wider consultations.
“As part of its assignments, the AMI, has initiated talks/discussions with high ranking members of the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, and the Middle Belt Forum (MBF) with a view to having a consensus on a presidential material acceptable to the North, as the general elections draw near.
“Among the names that the Arewa Mandate Initiative and the support groups are considering from the south-south, include, former Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma Egba, SAN, the Minister of state, Petroleum, Dr Timipriye Sylvia, Minister of Transport, Chief Rotimi Amechi, and the Minister of Niger Delta, NDDC, Chief Godswill Akpabio, and from the south-west, includes names like, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, Minister of works Raji Fashola, Governor of Ekiti, John Kayode Fayemi, and Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbeshola.
“Similarly, the AMI, is also looking at names like the Minister of Science and Tech, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, former Governor of Abia, Dr. Orji Uzoh Kalu and Ebonyi state Governor Dave Umahi.”