Fresh poll won

No Comments » February 5th, 2008 posted by // Categories: Elections 2007




Fresh poll won’t cause crisis, says Arewa    5/2/2008


From Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operation


The new Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Gen. Ibrahim Haruna (rtd), has said that there won’t be any crisis if a fresh presidential poll is ordered.

Haruna, who spoke

exclusively with The Nation last weekend in Abuja, said Nigerians would support a rerun of the presidential poll.

He spoke against the backdrop of anxiety over final addresses by both the counsel to President Umaru Yar’Adua and the presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC), former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar.

Haruna said: “I cannot even fathom or guess that because the law says we should go for another election, then we won’t happily go for any election, provided the structures for re-election are properly conducted.

“I mean the criticisms that have been passed over the last election and the conduct of it by Prof. Maurice Iwu are sufficient enough to tell us that unless we do things better, in terms of logistics, delivery and transparency, we are not likely to get a better result.

“And even if that (fresh election) happens, I think Nigeria has gone past that goalpost that Kenya is going through. So, we are mature enough to take it.

“We have faced the challenge of third term and third term policy, which almost blew up this country. So, I don’t think a mere change, a mere decision that we should go for re-election is sufficient to say that we cannot have a continuing nation with people who are willing to mature in the process of democratisation.”

The ACF chairman allayed the fear that the annulment of the presidential poll would lead to a political stalemate.

He added: “It is not a stalemate if we submit that we are ascending into a higher state of civilisation, then we must face the consequences of the rule of law and due process. And if these are the consequences that we have to face, then we have no reason to resort to any barbaric exhibition and resort to things like genocide and unwholesome uncivilised behaviour.

“I think it is an index of our maturity if the judiciary, which is an arm of government that is supposed to be independent and repository of wisdom, decides, then so let it be.

“We should peacefully take the challenge and reorganise an election. It is not the end of all elections; election will continue. And Nigeria too must continue. And, therefore, Nigerian people must assure themselves of the security of developing in a civilised environment.”

Asked why Northern leaders have not reconciled Yar’Adua, Atiku and the presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, he said the petitions before the tribunal were not restricted to the North.

Said Haruna: “These issues are very fundamental, they are not Arewa issues; they are issues for all of us who are seeking to coalesce into a civilised democratic society.

“So, where there are breaches by the current administration and the process is being challenged, its main purpose of course is to reveal the weaknesses so that they can be strengthened. Strengthened so that those who have to operate the system in the future will inherit something that is better, something that is workable, and something that is credit worthy.

“So, it is not a personal conflict between the Northern candidates, it is a fundamental issue for the Nigerian State and for the Nigerian people.”

Haruna debunked insinuations that power was conceded to the North in 2007 by other geo-political zones.

He said: “Firstly, there was no unanimous concession of power to the North; it is in the current logic of our political evolution.”

Replying to a question, the ACF chairman said although the shoes of the former Chairman of the organization, the late Chief Sunday Awoniyi, might be bigger for him, he would survive it.

He said: “I have had to answer the question before. Of course, you know, I have always said I don’t have his age, I don’t have his wisdom. I have not been saddled by the extent to which he had. He had worked with our founding father, the late Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello; he worked with the Federal Civil Service and regional civil service. He was a traditional ruler and a graduate of the War College. So, his shoes are certainly big for me.

“But you know what I say is that the young men of today, like myself in this context, can fill into every shoe, provided of course you know that no child starts wearing his shoes without the help of Baba and Mama.

“For as long as it is not an individual challenge … you need the support, the cooperation, the direction, the consensus, and consultation of people. So, the shoe is not really for me to wear, it is the shoe that we are to wear. The challenge is not personal to me.”

On the increasing sentiments and criticisms against former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Haruna said: “Well, the consequence of taking public office is exposure.

“It only reinforces the fact that you must endeavour to keep public moral uprightness and also rectitude in the performance of public duty. If you don’t, there is always a price to be paid for the consequences of your act, good or bad.”

Pressed to assess Obasanjo’s performance, he merely quipped: “You are asking me to pass what type of judgment now. They say in law let the facts speak for themselves.”


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