Gyang Bere, Jos
The National President of Jonde Jam Fulani Youth Association of Nigeria, Alh. Saidu Maikano Adamu has said that Fulani youths will not support anybody from the North for the position of Vice President. He said the South has been tested for the Presidency during President Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan and they both failed the country. He said the youth will support a credible person from the North for 2023 presidential election to sustain President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against insecurity, corruption and someone who will work in the collective interest of the entire country.
Do you have regrets voting for President Muhammadu Buhari in the last General Elections?
We, the Fulani youth in Northern Nigeria met together and did a peer review of what President Muhammadu Buhari has done in the country in the last five years and we realised that the President has done a lot in uniting the country. As Fulani, we don’t regret voting him because he has done what a leader is supposed to do. This is the first administration that has been fair to all the six geopolitical zones in the country; he did not discriminate against people based on their ethnicity or religion and that is why his leadership style has brought peace in Nigeria. From my observation, when Buhari came on board in 2015, he didn’t start projects in the North; most of the projects he started executing were mostly for the South and we are not sad with that decision. Despite this, we appreciate what the President has done for us, because he is a President of Nigeria and not just the Fulani; our elders in the North have thought us to respect all constituted authorities and be law abiding in all situations; we also understand that once God has given you leadership, there is need to be fair to all kinds of people and that is why we are happy with President Buhari for not discriminating between the North and the South, Christians and Muslims and even people of the other religions because Nigerians collectively voted him into power. It is not good to say as a leader that you must bring everything to your house; that is why we are happy with the projects that the President has executed in the Niger Delta, the South- East and the South-West. Some of these projects were inherited and completed, some are still ongoing while some of the projects were initiated by the Buhari’s administration with the purpose of providing cohesion and unity in the country. Some of these projects includes the rehabilitation of Enugu-Port-Harcourt expressway which is ongoing; the rehabilitation of Amansea-Enugu Border section of Onitsha-Enugu Expressway; construction of 18km critical stretch of Onitsha-Awka road and Construction of Second Niger Bridge among several others on the South East.
Are you saying that the President has not done anything in the North, his concern is the South?
No, I am talking about the quality of leadership he has given in the last five years without any form of discrimination. If not President Buhari, which President will pick somebody from the South and give him three powerful Ministries; in his first tenure, he appointed Babatunde Fashola as Minister and gave him Ministry of Works, Power and Housing; people complained that why will the President give someone from the South these powerful ministries but the President was working on the develompent of the entire country and, if not President Buhari, I have not seen a President from the South West or South-South that has ever done this. These ministries are just like the entire country; these are the ministries that take the highest portion of our total budget if I am not mistaken, no President has ever done that for the Hausa/Fulani in Nigeria but Buhari did that for the unity of the country. I remember when Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was in prison, it is the Arewa people that brought him out of prison and then gave him the President of this nation but I can stand to say that he is responsible for about 95 percent of the challenges that are in the North now. When he came on board, he destroyed all the democratic structures that former President Shehu Shagari put in place particularly in peaceful coexistence of the people of the country. After then, late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua took necessary steps to put the country in good shape, where the resources of the entire country will be used for the benefit of all but he died midway but President Goodluck Jonathan came and did not follow that agenda strictly. We will not make mistake again to say that we will give somebody from the South the leadership of this country because they have failed us in the past.
You mean that the North should retain the Presidency in 2023 after President Buhari completes their tenure?
That is what I am saying, we should look for another credible person from the North and give him the Presidency in 2023 to continue with the develompental strides of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023 until when the country is united beyond religious and ethic sentiment, then the presidency can be given to the South-East or South-West. I know that in Nigeria today, religious and ethnic difference will not bring the desired peace we are all yearning for in the country and what Buhari has done and waht he will do at the end of his eight years in office, if you give the position to someone from the South, he will destroy the relationship if care is not taken. He will take Nigeria backward and taking leadership from the South will be difficult.
Is that your fear?
No, but this is the reality I want people in the North to know, they must be firm in their support for President Muhammadu Buhari to complete his tenure peacefully and then unite to retain the Presidency in the North in 2023. We are all aware that there was an urban drift but people are returning to the villages to go and farm; now the food that we are producing in Nigeria, we can feed other nations with it; these are some of the policies that President Buhari brought on ground that we are happy with him. Before the coming of Buhari, our foreign reserve was depleted, Nigeria was a debtor country but today we have peace in Nigeria; you will go to the Mosque without being searched and same thing if you are going to the church; road blocks that were visible across the country have been dismantled, only few are there now, this is possible because there is peace. I know that there are still few people who don’t want peace, they are ones causing problem of insecurity in the country but the security is working on eliminating them.
But there are people from the North that are already jostling for the position of Vice President,what will you do with them?
I want to state here that that the North has not taken a decision to go for Vice President and anybody who is looking for Vice President in the North does not have the interest of the region at heart. We in the North don’t need Vice President; it should go to the South-West, South-South or South-East and if their elders say they are okay with him, then we can accept him to be a Vice President with a President from the North in 2023. As Fulani youths, we will not support anybody for Vice President from the North, all I know is that the North is looking for President.
As Fulani youths, do you have somebody in mind that you want him to become President in 2023 after President Buhari?
We are not a political party.
But any group can sponsor a particular candidate for an election?
We don’t have a specific individual but any candidate that comes from the North, we will support him. I know that there will be so many candidates but we will weigh all of them and settle for one with the blessing of our elders.
Don’t you think that the South East deserves the Presidency in 2023 since they have not tasted the position since 1999?
Nobody gives anybody the Presidency, and every body has the constitutional right to come out; they also have the right to come out and contest for the seat. The problem is that if we in the North give them bloc vote, they might not be fair to us and that is our fear.
What is your take on the issue of kidnapping particularly on Kaduna/Abuja road, what do you think the President should do to stop that?
Those doing this evil are gangs of armed robbers who have been pursued out of some states; somewhere in Maiduguri, somewhere in Taraba, Adamawa and other states, they are the one doing all this. But before now, if you were going to Church or Mosque no matter how highly placed you are in the society, you must be subjected to search but that is no longer in place because there is peace now. Also, the way people used to steal money in the past has reduced; the President has insisted on Single Treasury account for every institution; all the top shorts who were stealing Nigeria money have been blocked.
What is your advice to Politicians ahead of 2023 so that we will have a peaceful transition?
Everybody has the right to contest election in 2023; the constitution has given power to everybody and every region to contest any position of their choice but if you have been tested and you fail the people, nobody will entrust the position of the President into your hand again.
But don’t you think that the South East might produce the next President if there are so many people from the North contesting the presidency?
I will not ask somebody notto come out, every body who is interested in the Presidency in the North should come out to contest; we will allow everybody until two days to election, the whole region will now settle for one person. Are you not seeing election is conducted in the North? Look at how we conduct election in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State. We have never divided our votes, we had more than 10 candidates for House of Representatives but at the eve of election, our elders usually give us direction. So, for the Presidency, the candidate that the elders of the North brings out is the person we will support to succeed President Buhari.
Don’t you think that if the North insists on retaining the Presidency in 2023, it will divide the country?
Nothing will divide Nigeria, we believe that fairness will strengthen the country just like President Muhammadu Buhari is doing. When you have discrimination -religious and ethnic sentiments, these are the ingredients that will divide the nation. Now that Buhari is working in the South, anybody who is complaining from the North does not know what he is saying, those people don’t know leadership. The President is expected to start work in a different region before coming to the North.
What will happen if President Muhammadu Buhari wants to continue in 2023?
He will not contest.