From Noah Ebije, Kaduna

A Northern group, Arewa Think Tank, has said that Northern region of the country cannot stop President Bola Tinubu’s second term bid for 2027 presidential election, because according to the group, North does not need political power, but infrastructural and educational development by a leader who cares for the region.

This was even as the group organised special prayers for President Tinubu’s 72nd birthday celebration, believing that citizens ought to pray for their leaders rather than curse them as they steer the affairs of the nation for better tomorrow.

Fielding questions from newsmen shortly after the prayer session which was offered by some Islamic clerics and female members at Arewa House, Kaduna yesterday,  the Convener of Arewa Think Tank,  Muhammad Alhaji Yakubu, regretted that a Northerner was at the affairs of the nation for eight years without impacting positively on the region.

Yakubu advised that Northerners must tell themselves the bitter truth, put regional sentiments aside, and support Tinubu’s second term in office to ensure development in the zone.

According to Arewa Think Tank leader, “Why will North stop President Tinubu? How can North stop him in 2027 after somebody from the North has done eight years? For us to have peace in this country, the North has no option, no alternative than to vote Tinubu for another second term, so that he can do eight years as well. What North should be thinking now is infrastructural and educational development.

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“Considering the enormity of challenges facing the North now, it does not need political power now.  We must put our house in order and tell each other the bitter truth. Insecurity challenges which we hoped that former President Muhammadu Buhari would have dealt with, got worse. That means political power has no value for the North.

“However, it is all about democracy and politics when people start angling to run for the presidency, probably to beat Tinubu to it. Everybody has the right to contest for any political position in the country. They have the rights as enshrined in our constitution to associate freely. They can go ahead and contest. For us at Arewa Think Tank, nobody can stop us from supporting the President. All we know is that he will be in power for eight years.

“We had a Northern President who stayed in power for eight years. So, there is no reason why we will not support President Tinubu for eight years. So far, he has done a lot of works across the country. I was watching the minister of works, David Umahi, saying that Abuja, Kaduna, Kano highways will be completed this year. This is very encouraging because the last administration in the last eight years could not fix it.

“And look at President Tinubu in less than one year in office, he is promising us that he will complete it. That is encouraging. So, all we need to do is to continue to support and pray for him. Like I earlier said at the initial take off of Tinubu’s government, we in the Arewa Think Tank, will give him one or one and half years before we start criticising him. We want to give him some benefits of the doubt, we want to give him a breathing space because of the enormity of the challenges he inherited. It won’t be fair in less than one year to start criticising him. If there is a need, there is a channel to reach him. But, for us to come out openly to criticise him, we need up to one or one and half years. Until he fails to work on those areas we advised him, that is when we will start to criticise him. But for the time being, we will support him and continue to pray for him.”

Speaking on why prayer was organised for Tinubu, Yakubu said: “This special prayer for President Bola Tinubu is because we are in a special month, and we are happy with what the President has been doing in the last nine months. We are doing this prayer to encourage him and we decided to do the prayer for him today in Arewa House because of its historical background. We want to tell the President that if the late premier of blessed memory was to be alive, he would in the spirit of fairness and equity support President Tinubu 100 percent. So, we want to take the advantage of the holy month for both Christians and Muslims to pray for the President because we have seen courage and capacity in him, and we have also seen political will in him.

“What we are doing here today is also part of our advice because he is doing well in tackling security and economic challenges. These are challenges that he inherited. The security situation in the country is improving. It is a situation that deteriorated so terribly that cannot be fixed over night. But, we have begun to see light at the end of the tunnel. And Like I said earlier, the President has shown political will, courage and capacity. What he needs from Nigerians is support and prayers, and that is what we are doing here today.”