The Northern Youth Leaders’ Forum, NYLF, has revealed a shortlist of 11 northern politicians it endorsed as potential presidential candidates for the 2019 general elections.
The nominees are: former vice president, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State; Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto; the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki; former Jigawa State governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido; Governor Nasir El-rufai of Kaduna State and former Kano State governor, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso.
Others are: former Borno State governor, Senator Ali Modu Sheriff; Governor Ibrahim Shettima of Borno State; Governor Abdul’aziz Abubakar Yari of Zamfara State; Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, and Senator Bala Muhammed; have emerged as respectable presidential candidates from the North.
Leader of the group, Comrade Elliot Afiyo said in a statement that it was 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.
He 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.”
Mr Afiyo said the group had forwarded the names of the endorsed persons to its patrons and the leadership of the 42 affiliated organisations to Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) for screening and for the endorsement of only two candidates who will be considered during its 15th Annual National Convention coming up in September, 2017, in Kano.
“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,” it said.
The group 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.
Mr Afiyo said NYLF was strongly instrumental to the emergence of “Olusegun Obasanjo, Musa Yar’adua and Goodluck Jonathan as well as current President Muhammadu Buhari as presidents in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015, respectively, without regional bias.”
The group said its actions were always guided by national interest far above any other interest.