The Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders’ Forum on Wednesday defended their opposition to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan when he contested the 2011 and the 2015 presidential elections.
The groups, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, indicated that they had no regrets for their position in the two elections.
On its part, the ACF while justifying its position, said leaders should learn to honour their words.
The spokesman for NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, told one of our correspondents on the telephone that the North worked against the former President because he and his party jettisoned the power shift (zoning) policy.
He said the forum never hid the reason for working against Jonathan, as according to him, “We told him(Jonathan)why we worked against him,” he stated.
He added that the forum expected the former President to respect the zoning formula shortly after the death of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua but regrettably, Jonathan and his party reneged on the zoning agreement.
The former Ahmadu Bello University vice-chancellor, stated, “Yes, it is true that Northern Elders’ Forum worked against Jonathan and we told him why.
“They themselves (PDP) admitted that they made a mistake in reneging on the power shift and why what happened happened,” the spokesman said.
On its part, the ACF adduced the same reason for working against the former President and his party, saying Jonathan contested in 2011 and 2015 against the arrangement of his party that zoned the presidency to the North.
The National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim-Biu, told one of our correspondents that the former President’s assertion that the North worked against him was odd, considering the “circumstances at that time.” The spokesman admonished Nigerian leaders to always honour agreements they entered into.
He said, “It is on record that Jonathan contested the 2011 and 2015 polls against the zoning arrangement of his party that zoned the presidential slot to the North.
“Therefore, his assertions that Northern leaders and socio-political groups in the North worked against his presidency is rather odd, considering the circumstances at that time.
“Yet the ruling party secured 25 per cent in most states of the North. It may interest you to know that his party has since admitted the oversight in the party winning game plan.”
He added, “This clearly means that leaders should always honour their words with deeds if they want to earn the respect of their followers.”
The former President, in his new book, ‘My Transition Hour’ had said that he battled opposition from Northern leaders and socio-political groups, which felt he was usurping power from the region.
Jonathan said the northern power blocs had tried to deny him his constitutional right of contesting the 2010 presidential election after the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2010.
According to him, despite the threats and opposition, he was able to win the 2011 election.