The Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong has said the Northern Governors of the APC did not necessarily want the President-elect, Bola Tinubu, to be President of Nigeria when they supported the power shift to the southern part of the country.
According to Lalong, who was also the Director General of Tinubu’s Presidential Campaign organisation, their push for a southern presidency was rather in order to promote the unity, peace and stability of Nigeria within the spirit of fairness, equity and justice which the late Premier of the Northern Region, Sir Ahmadu Bello, stood for.
Lalong was speaking at the 9th Annual Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Lecture on Leadership and Good Governance held in Lafia, Nasarawa State, a statement issued by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Macham Makut, said on Saturday
The Governor said, “When I led my colleagues – the Northern Governors – to push for power shift to the South, it was not because we wanted Asiwaju to be President. Rather, we wanted to ensure that justice and fairness prevail in our nation for unity, peace and harmony. That is what we believe our revered father of blessed memory, Sir Ahmadu Bello, would do in such circumstances. Fortunately, the party delegates chose Asiwaju who was eventually accepted by Nigerians as he was unanimously elected”.
Lalong urged all Nigerians, both in the North and across the country, to support Tinubu as he takes on the mantle of leadership.
The governor noted that, because the late Sardauna lived a life of accommodation, tolerance, justice and fairness, his legacies have endured long after his demise and continue to inspire leadership in the region and country at large. According to him, the North is an important stakeholder in the Nigerian project and its contributions towards his election cannot be over emphasized.
“The Northern region needs serious attention in various sectors ranging from security, education, infrastructure, agriculture, economic revival and restoration of law and order in various areas that have been ravaged by insecurity.
“It is heartening to note that the Northern Governors Forum, under my leadership, has done a great deal of work on bringing our people together as one people with a common destiny,” Lalong added.
Nasarawa State Governor, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, said it was a privilege for his state to host the very important event, which reminds the region and the nation about the values that Sardauna lived and died for.
He said, although there have been challenges in the country after the demise of Sir Ahmadu Bello, some progress has been made which can be built upon to make the Northern region and Nigeria a better place.
Speaking on the topic “2023 Elections as Panacea for Search for Quality Leadership in Nigeria,” Kenyan Law Professor and pan Africanist, Patrick Lumumba, said the late Sardauna left behind several lessons for politicians which include his selflessness and sacrifice for the general good.
He said the question of unity and cohesion in Nigeria particularly after the 2023 general elections cannot be over emphasized because Nigeria plays a very key role in the stability of Africa being a giant in all ramifications.
Lumumba stressed that the sacrifices of founding fathers like Sardauna, who paid the supreme price, should not be left to go in vain but built upon for a greater Nigeria and Africa.
President Muhammadu Buhari in a message delivered by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, said it is important that Nigerians devote more attention to recruiting quality leaders who are capable of steering the nation in the right direction.
He also said the process of elections should also be looked at, and continuously improved upon to ensure that those who serve the people have their mandate and also enjoy their support.
Emir of Lafia, HRH Sidi Bage, said the lecture series is an opportunity to reflect on the dreams of Sardauna but also a way of putting critical national and regional issues on the front burner.
He thanked Governor Lalong, who as Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, worked hard to ensure that the traditional Institution is given a place in the governance of Nigeria much as it was during the time of the Sardauna.