OrderPaperToday – The senator representing Borno South senatorial district, Mr. Mohammed Ali Ndume, has come down hard on his political party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), warning that any attempt to zone presidency to north again would be tagged third term.
Ndume urged the party to take the 2023 presidential ticket to the southern zone in the spirit of equity, fairness and justice since President Muhammadu Buhari would have completed two terms by then.
Ndume, who is chairman, Senate Committee on Army, said this at the weekend when he appeared as a guest at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Correspondents’ Chapel interactive session roundtable.
“I’m against APC producing its presidential candidate from the north. The APC presidential candidate should come from the south,” he said, adding: “I have said it before and will still say it again that if we have a northerner as APC presidential candidate, to me, it is tantamount to third term and it is not constitutional”.
He continued: “The (APC) constitution says the president shall serve two terms and we said then that the north should serve two terms.
“If you say the north should produce the presidential candidate again, it means you are going for third term, which is not fair and I believe in fairness, justice and equality.
“Let candidates from the south — and that means, south-south, southeast and south west — clinch the ticket.”
Speaking on the agitations for southeast presidency, Ndume expressed reservation over the Biafra separatist movement by some in the zone. “For the south-east, let me say for example, you want to be the head of this house and you are calling for the division of the house, will it work?
“And I think the southeast needs to think about it. That is what is creating the rumour for the northerners to even say they want to be the president again. If you want to be president of Nigeria, you must believe in the unity of Nigeria. I support the candidate to come anywhere from the south.”
The lawmaker lamented the state of the nation’s security calling on government to pump more funds in the sector since the country was under threat.
“The fundamental thing that keeps the country going is security and welfare of the citizens. That’s why our constitution clearly states that the purpose of government is security and welfare of the citizens. You know these two key things are now under threat in Nigeria”.
Tracing the history of crime in the nation, Ndume recalled that: “At the beginning, it started like a joke, staring from small stealing and all that. That culminated into armed robbery. In the early 70s in this country, you hardly hear of armed robbery.
“I remember when we were in secondary school. One of the first armed robbers that was executed at the beach in Lagos was Oyenusi; they call him ‘rob and kill’. Over 30,000 people gathered at the beach to watch his execution with his colleagues. The next one that was famous was that of Anini. But other than that, before today, armed robbery was a small crime in Nigeria.
“You see people involved in banditry, kidnapping, and of course, the insurgency that has bedeviled the north-east for the past 11 years now, to the extent that in Maiduguri now, once it’s 5 o’clock, you cannot go in or come out of Maiduguri from all angles. By 10 o’clock, Maiduguri is shut down. You can’t go anywhere. In fact, this is even an improved situation.
“We hear of kidnapping, banditry, and all sorts of crime these days. The nation is at the brink of collapse. The unfortunate thing is that Nigerians, from top to bottom, still trivialize, tribalize or give the situation religious colouration, and we’re now in this sorry state.”
He also said, the current situation was confusing, adding that the solution to the country’s challenges lies with individual determination to bring about the needed change.
“The situation is terrible and whenever there is a forum like this, I think there is the need for us to talk and proffer solutions. I, as a legislator with experience going to 20 years now, I must confess to you that I’m confused. I’m truly confused. The problem in this country is so much today, that the solution to it is only with us”.