By Wilfred Eya
Battle for President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor may have taken a new turn as leaders of the North Central zone across various political parties are perfecting plots to make a collective bid for the presidency.
Indications emerged at the weekend that leaders of the region are set to accentuate their campaign and agitation for the rest of the country to support a candidate from the zone.
A top North Central politician, who declined to be mentioned, told Daily Sun that to accomplish the project, top-level meetings are ongoing in Abuja, Jos, Makurdi, Lafia, Ilorin, Minna and Lokoja.
He said the campaign is being handled at different levels with members of the National Assembly from the zone, former members of the National Assembly, present and past governors, speakers of the Houses of Assembly, retired generals, business people, and traditional rulers being co-opted to sell the agenda to their colleagues, friends, and associates from the other zones.
Daily Sun gathered that leaders of the zone are set to start sending emissaries to all the other geo-political zones to realise the dream just like in 1999 when the entire country was made or persuaded to elect a president from the South West.
He said the leaders are insisting this time, their counterparts in the North West and North East zones should support their agitation to produce the next president.
“Our agitation is supported by historical facts, the principle of justice and equity as well as the concept of brotherhood.
“Since 1960 when Nigeria became independent, the unity of the North has been achieved because the North Central solidly supports the Arewa oneness.”
He recalled how leaders like Chief Sunday Awoniyi, S. B. Daniyan, Aliyu Makaman Bida, Ahman Pategi, and others stood solidly behind Ahmadu Bello and ensured the Gamji tree provided cover for all northerners.
He said when the military took over, the North central was the reason Nigeria did not break into pieces as an aftermath of the 1966 coup, adding that the nation had to look up to a young officer of North central origin, Yakubu Gowon as the most acceptable officer to provide stability, lower the tension and assuage hurt feelings across board.
“The North central leaders,” our source said, “are also claiming it is the only zone that has neither produced a president or vice president since the advent of the country.
He said the situation has placed the North Central in a worse situation than that of the South East which between 1979 and 1983, produced former vice president, Alex Ekwueme.