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President Muhammadu Buhari (right); Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State; and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; during the President’s return from a 10-day vacation in the United Kingdom at the weekend in Abuja.<br />

• Upcoming elections doubtful, says Fayose
• Osoba urges passage of polls budget by N’Assembly

Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) has cautioned the South West geo-political zone against dictating to it who to present as presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections.

In a statement yesterday, the national president of AYCF, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, vowed that the north would resist the “antics of some political figures in the South West to determine, like it successfully did in 2015 when President Muhammadu Buhari was imposed as candidate of the region despite better available options.”

He said: “We have noticed that gradually Nigeria is being pushed back to the political scenario of 2015 where the South West dominated the decision- making process on who should be the nation’s president and the region out of modesty, merely allowed that historic imposition. But we have come to realise the fact that the first four years of the Buhari administration are replete with poverty, hunger, unemployment, general under-development and disturbing levels of stagnation.”

Shettima stated that the youths would no longer tolerate that kind of “imposition that has brought the nation’s economy to its knees and all we now get is empty propaganda instead of performance.”

The false hopes, the forum asserted were an insult on the sensibilities of Nigerians who fought fervently for the termination of military rule and enthronement of the democracy the country currently enjoys.
According to AYCF, “even though the consensus is that power should reside in the North in 2019, we make bold to say no one should dare try to teleguide the region and its people this time around.

“Northerners have a right to their democratic aspirations and choice of a president. No one should try to usurp that constitutional power through the backdoor.

“We want to make it very clear that the era of imposition of anyone on the North is gone. We are watching, and very closely too, the turn of events on Nigeria’s democratic space at the moment. We won’t take any form of manipulation by people who know little or nothing about the kind of leadership the people of the North wants.”

Besides, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State yesterday described the weekend’s by-election for Port Harcourt State Constituency III in Rivers as “another sad reality that votes of Nigerians will not be allowed to count during the 2019 elections, as the exercise will be held at gunpoint to achieve predetermined results.”

In a statement in Ado-Ekiti by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, the governor said it should now be obvious to Nigerians the alleged destruction of the legacy of free, fair and credible conduct of elections bequeathed to the All Progressives Congress (APC) government of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ‘gradual descent of the country.’

Fayose noted that the “world must not leave Nigeria to be driven into the pit of catastrophe because of the desperation of a few people to retain power.”

Also yesterday, former governor of Ogun State, Chief Segun Osoba, urged the National Assembly to pass the budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for it to commence preparations in earnest and avert anything that could mar next year’s polls.

His words: “It is obvious that danger lies ahead going by the way things are dragging between the National Assembly and the presidency in respect of the electoral budget. But it could easily be overcome unless we don’t want to be sincere with ourselves.”



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