The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum, AYCF, on Sunday rubbished statement credited to Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption, PACAC, that North was interested in retaining power in 2023.

AYCF President-General, Yerima Shettima in an interview with DAILY POST warned that the North cannot be intimidated by anybody on the issue of 2023 presidency.

Shettima, while insisting on competence as criteria for picking the next president, described Sagay’s remarks as sad and unfortunate.

He explained that he and some Northern voices have been clamouring for competence in picking Buhari’s successor in the interest of fairness and equity to all Nigerians.

According to Shettima: “It is unfortunate that the likes of Itse Sagay whom we are looking up to as one of those who should think normal and do things well based on his experience as a very good lawyer, could say things like that.

“As somebody of his status, one could have expected him to think beyond the way he is but sadly be’s not, and it’s very unfortunate.

“He abrogated so much powers to himself, believing that he can do and undo, that’s what he’s trying to do.

“Well, nobody can intimidate the North. That some of us decided to say no about the North retaining power was not because we are scared of anybody, this is democracy. And if we choose to do that, we can mobilise, canvass and stand by our word. But for the sake of equity, fairness for all, we advocated for a level playing ground so that any Nigerian can bid for the office of the presidency.

“Nigerians would have to decide who comes whether from the South East, South-South, Southwest, Northeast, Northwest or central, it’s strictly the prerogative of Nigerians to decide.

“But that somebody or any political party would sit down and arrogate to themselves at this era as the country is and are saying power must go to a particular part of the country, then they are doomed. Those days are gone.

“However, on the ground of competence, if you are sure of yourself and have what it takes then come into the arena so that Nigerians will decide. But that somebody would sit in his comfort zone and begin to make noise is unacceptable and we won’t take it.

“We want to have a just society and we want it built in a country where we all will be proud of. And on that basis, some of us changed our previous ground not because somebody persuaded us but we felt let’s decide what’s good for the country. We said others should come home with their best and we too will do the same and let the people decide.

“It’s about voting and not a war, so it’s unacceptable that somebody would sit down and imagine something in his head because he has complex issues, there is no strategy about the stand by some of us that presidency should be based on competency. It’s not out of fear, we just felt let it be so.”

Sagay had in an interview, not with DAILY POST had claimed that a section of the North was against zoning ahead of the 2023 presidential election in order to keep power in the region after President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure.

The PACAC Chairman also berated those clamouring for competence as the primary criterion for choosing the next president as being “too clever”.

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