A group, the Arewa Youths Progressive Alliance, has dissociated itself from a comment credited to the presidential candidate of the New Nigerian Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, that voters from the North would only vote for the region’s presidential candidates.
But the spokesman for the group, Alhaji Sambo Galadima, noted that “the North is neither anti-progress nor xenophobic against other Nigerians.”
In a statement released in Kaduna on Thursday, Galadima said that the impression created by the former Governor of Kano State was not only disrespectful to the region but also misrepresented the true characters of an average northern voter.
Picking holes in the assertion by the NNPP presidential candidate who spoke on Channels TV, the spokesman noted that Kwankwaso’s utterances portrayed the North as retrogressive.
“Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s utterances portray the North as retrogressive and the average northern voter as insensitive and unconcerned about the sufferings of Nigerians and the high rate of insecurity and economic woes bedevilling Nigeria, and rather concerned about having ‘fellow northerner and fellow Muslim’ perpetuate themselves in power.
“Nothing can be farther from the truth. The northerner experiences the same level of frustration with the state of governance in the country that the average Nigerian from any part of Nigeria experiences and wishes like every Nigerian that things improve for the better and that the most capable and most prepared individuals take charge of governance at different levels, including the presidency of the country, for the betterment of Nigeria,” he said.
He further argued that the North had never been immune to the various troubles bedevilling the country.
“Has the North fared any better in infrastructure or living standards merely because a Northerner or a Muslim is the President of the country?
“The former governor of Kano State insults the North by portraying us as some insensitive group of people without the capacity to think for ourselves. This is not true. He sends the impression out there that our votes are owned by some elites and that it is these elites who will decide how we will vote in every election.
“If that was true in the past, that is set to change, because we are not slaves. We are capable of dreaming and holding strongly to our dreams. We are capable of working for and participating actively in political activities, independently and with the aim of bringing about the kind of government that shall serve the best interest of the average Nigerian.
“In the last seven years, more than 100,000 Northerners have been killed by bandits and terrorists, and thousands of our daughters, wives, mothers and sisters have either been raped, abducted or forcefully married out.
“Our farms are lying fallow and our harvests haven’t been poorer. Yet, a Northerner is the President. We voted for this Northerner, not because he is a Northerner, but because we believed he had the best of intentions and had the capacity to turn things around for good, for the benefit of all Nigerians. But, we are disappointed,” he stated.
Galadima then assured Nigerians that the North would vote in line with what they considered the best for Nigeria at this time and in the future.
“We want to assure fellow Nigerians that Northern Nigeria is not some kind of slave colony where some elites drag us by the neck to vote on the basis of sectionalism or religion. We shall vote for the best candidates who hold the best promise to recharge Nigeria and get her working again, because, like every responsible citizen, we want the best interest of our country and we want a brighter future for our children,” he added.