Abuja - Prominent elders from the north have urged Nigerians to rally around President Goodluck Jonathan ahead of the scheduled 2015 presidential election.
This follows a meeting under the auspices of Northern Elders Council (NEC). The event was held in Kaduna.
Among those that attended the inaugural meeting were John Manklin, Senator Maitama Yusuf, Ambassador Ladan Shuni, Senator Mohammed Alkali, Margaret Ichen, Dr Jonah, Ambassador Abdullahi Shinkafi, Senator Ahmed Mukhtar Aruwa, Ambassador Hassan Adamu, Gambo Lawan, Senator Hamisu Musa, Senator Saidu Umar Kumo, Col. Bala Mande, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Shafa, Senator Idris Haliru and Senator Paul Wampana.
In his welcome address, leader of the group, Tanko Yakasai, described the performance of the Jonathan administration as impressive.
He said that the group would work with Nigerians who wished to ensure that machinations of anti-democratic forces in the country are frustrated.
“We reject intimidation, threat and violence and it is unacceptable for elders to make inflammatory statements capable of breaching the peace. The Northern Elders Council applauds the excellent working relationship between President Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo as the political leader of the north.”
In its communiqué, the group congratulated Jonathan over the centenary celebrations.
The communiqué said the group acknowledges the immense contribution of northern Nigeria to the unity and development of Nigeria as well as the historical relationship between the north and the south, long before the amalgamation.
“We salute the sagacity, determination and multi-dimensional strategy of President Goodluck Jonathan in dealing with the insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria. We welcome the publication of the timetable of elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission and urge all political parties and actors to avoid heating up the polity while pursuing their aspirations.
"We fully support the national Dialogue and the modalities which have been adopted for selecting the delegates and we expect that the dialogue will help to strengthen the bond of unity among Nigerian’s component nationalities and democracy.”
Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero acknowledged the leaders.
“This important meeting of the Northern Elders Council is not only timely but imperative to the stability of our region especially at this crucial moment in the life of our great country. As an ardent believer in the power of dialogue in building understanding among diverse people, I salute the courage of our elders in forming this eminent group and I declare my absolute support to the ideals of the Northern Elders Council.
As elders, it is time for you to put heads together in proffering workable solutions to the myriads of socio-political as well as economic challenges plaguing development in our country. Our elders must urgently seek ways of reviving the strong bond of unity and brotherhood that used to be the major basis of stability of the region within a peaceful and prosperous Nigeria,” the governor said.
– CAJ News