The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Northern Elders' Forum (NEF) metThursday to consider the reports of special committees mandated to work on the northern region’s political agenda for the 2015 general election.
Among the committees whose reports were presented at the meeting were those of political, security and human rights, and the review of the country’s constitution.
Yesterday's meeting of the executive committee of the forum was said to be preparatory to an enlarged meeting scheduled for Thursday next week where various burning issues affecting the region will be discussed.
Although the meeting was held behind closed doors, with no communique issued at the end, THISDAY gathered from a reliable source that the forum received reports from its committee detailed to suggest ways of dealing with the forthcoming general election in 2015, the impact of insecurity on the economic and development of the north as well as the threat posed by the imposition of prolonged emergency rule on the three North-eastern states.
“This is just a normal meeting of the NEC members of NEF meant to receive reports by special committees set up to assess issues relating to the political development of the northern region. The main meeting of the forum will come up next Thursday in Abuja,” said the source.
According to the source, the forum has been pursuing the agenda for repositioning the northern region to retake the presidency come 2015.
The Secretary of NEF, Prof. Ango Abdullahi, was recently reported in the media to have insisted that the north would no longer misuse its right to produce the presidency at the next elections in 2015.
The forum had in September last year inaugurated special committees on politics, security and human rights and the review of the country's constitution.
While explaining the position of the north on 2015 presidential election, Abdullahi said the region no longer subscribed to the idea of zoning, adding that the process should be made open to all who are interested to contest.
“The issue of zoning should be thrown away and the contest should be open to all whether an Itsekiri man, Uhrobo man or a Tiv man. Whoever wins, so be it.
“The issue of allocating positions based on certain regions should be thrown away and let the people contest among themselves,” he said.
He said the north believes that when the issue of politics arises, there should be rules and regulations and that elections should be contested based on these rules.
Explaining the roles of the committees set up by the forum, he said the political committee was going to look at the current politics of Nigeria to see how the north could fit into it.
Abdullahi, who acted as the spokesman for the forum, said the north had also decided to take a serious look at the issue of the revenue allocation formula, derivation policy and the onshore-offshore dichotomy with a view to ensuring that the interest of the north is not undermined.
On the review of the constitution, Abdullahi said the process was an open-ended thing, which every part of the country was free to take a position.
He however said the committee set up by the forum would look at the constitution and see what changes are helpful to Nigerians and which ones are injurious to the people.