Elders and key actors in the politics of northern Nigeria, on Saturday, converged on Abuja to brainstorm on strategies to be adopted to pick a consensus candidate from the region for the 2019 presidential election.
The meeting was convened by a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Bello Mohammed; a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, and Senator Paul Zannan.
Other prominent northern leaders at the event are a former governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu; Senator Bala Mande and Senator Solomon Ewuga.
A former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. Ango Abdullahi; a former governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa; a prominent lawyer, Prof. Awwal Yadudu, and Alhaji Bala Mohammed were also in attendance.
The chairman on the occasion was elder statesman and chieftain of the Northern Elders Forum, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai.
It was gathered that the meeting was informed by reported widespread discontent trailing the alleged poor performance and failing health of President Muhammadu Buhari and the need to get a younger candidate ahead of the political party.
In a communiqué at the end of the meeting, the elders and stakeholders stated that they agreed to set up a committee to search and present a consensus candidate for the 2019 presidential election.
They equally set up a committee to look at the desirability or otherwise of the restructuring of Nigeria just as they approved the holding of a political summit, tagged ‘Northern Political Submit’ on March 15, 2018.
They said this was to commemorate the attainment of self-government of the Northern region in 1959.
They blamed governors for most of the problems in the region and called for efforts to reduce their powers.
The communiqué released to the media by chairman of the Communiqué Drafting Committee, Senator Ibrahim Mantu, showed that the group also set up other committees, top among which was the one saddled with the responsibility of x-raying factors that had caused crises in the region.
The communique read, “This meeting is hereby established as a standing forum for the Northern Region to be known as Northern Political Leaders Forum.
“Five Sub-Committees are hereby set up to address the various issues challenging the Northern Region. The sub-committee during the summit are Security Sub-Committee; Political Sub-Committee; Northern Unity Sub-Committee; the 2019 Election Sub-Committee and the Restructuring of Nigeria Sub-Committee.
“The details of the members will be announced in due course.
“The meeting has approved the holding of a Northern Political Submit on March 15, 2018 to commemorate the attainment of self-government of the Northern Region in 1959.