The National Chairman of the Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) has shortlisted 12 names of northern politicians it endorsed as potential presidential candidates for the 2019 general elections.
Leader of the group, Comrade Elliot Afiyo, who disclosed this, said 5 of the 12 persons, namely, Senator Bala Muhammed, former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State and Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto emerged as respectable presidential candidates from the North.
Others are the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, former Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido, Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State, former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, former Borno State governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, Governor Ibrahim Shettima of Borno State and Governor Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari of Zamfara State.
The group said it is disturbed by the ‘scheming’ and ‘maneuvers’ in the country suggesting southern interest in the 2019 presidency and reiterated that the north should retain the presidency in 2019, a position it had communicated to the south-west political leaders during a meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on June 6, 2017.
Comrade Elliot said: “We want to reiterate and clearly warn that the North will not, and will never allow presidency to move to the South in 2019. As much as we can tolerate or pay any sacrifice for the unity of this country, we remain committed to a northern president in 2019.
We want to send a message to all political parties that may field southern presidential candidates in 2019 election that such action will amount to committing a political suicide,” a statement by the group said.
It warned northern leaders to desist from supporting candidates from the South and insisted that such action would be counter productive to their irreversible decision for a 2019 northern presidency. .
The group further called on all northern youths to embrace dialogue and peace, and not to allow themselves to be swayed by those who use religion and ethnicity to divide the north and gain political advantage.