The North 4 North Atiku Support Group at a peaceful protest staged on Tuesday in Kaduna rejected the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for the 2023 presidential race, stressing that he is too old to contest and should leave the race for a younger candidate.
It would be recalled that Atiku had contested presidential election in 2019 against incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari, but lost.
The protesters who stormed Patrick Ibrahim Yakowa Way, Kaduna carried placards with inscriptions such as, “Northern youths reject Atiku for 2023 presidency, “; “Atiku is too old to be president, “; “Insecurity: Atiku abandoned us,”; “2023 presidency is the turn of the South” among several others.
Addressing newsmen shortly after the protest, Okpanachi Jacob, national Coordinator of the Coalition of Civil Society for Good Governance (CCSGG) who read the text of the protest jointly signed by national coordinator, Mohammed Garba, and national secretary Abubakar Sanni said presidency should no longer be handled by older candidate because what the office demands in the 21st century requires a proactive person with energy to cope with the rigours of the office.
The group also said, “presidency cannot afford to go to an older candidate, considering the enormity of the demands of the job in the 21st century, where there are series of factors playing into a tectonic shift in economic centers of gravity, coupled with the many challenges confronting Nigeria that requires a proactive person with energy to cope with the rigors of office.
“It is the unanimous position of Nigerians, as deduced from the sampling of opinions through our consultants on the subject matter this far, that the presidency should go to a younger candidate in tune with the realities within which we exist in today’s world and capable of making decisions at the pace required therefrom.
“Only one region in Nigeria has not been given a chance to take the presidency of Nigeria and it is only fair that 2023 almost a quarter of a century into our current democratic system the south is reminded that they just as Nigerian as the rest of us. Fairness and equity is the major ingredient for sustainability of any society as history has clearly shown and Nigeria can be no exception to this clear and present rule of nation building; when a society begins to deviate from the principle of fairness and equity, it declines and slides down the rabbit hole of oblivion.
“The South deserves the presidency of Nigeria come 2023, and we must narrow down our focus to searching for the best candidate from the region rather than allowing the public discourse space to be crowded by cacophony of distraction that will end up robbing us of the very best of us. No doubt politics is important as development can only take place in an atmosphere of peace, confidence and sense of belonging in the system.
“The only way forward for Nigeria is forward and we can’t afford to go back to the old ways of choosing presidents from certain parts of the country, to the exclusion of others, which has only given a few individuals the levers of power and shrunk the political space. It is time to open up the space to allow for new entrants to aspire to the highest political office of the land.
“Nigeria does not need more of the old, but a switch to the new, in order for paradigm shift in the management of affairs. The old ways have not worked and it is time for complete turnaround of our fortunes and this will not happen if we limit ourselves by choosing from those who have tasted power before. We need a new political equation for governance to make a “U” turn, for better outcomes for Nigerian people who have been clamouring for this for decades.
“We have promoted Atiku’s candidature for years, but we humbly call on the former Vice President to do us good turn in return for the many good returns we have done for him. We have sacrificed a lot pushing for the Presidency of Atiku Abubakar all these years, even though we have been abandoned by him after each election cycle, it is time for him to project national interest outside of his need to become president.
“At almost 80 years, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar does not have enough in the tank to put in the high level of physical and mental efforts required to fix Nigeria. We equally call on other aspirants who are old to leave the field and allow for young and vibrant candidates to emerge and take the reins of power in 2023.” The group noted.