A coalition of concerned groups on power shift to the South and the need for a younger presidential candidate to emerge come 2023 has urged former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to shelve his ambition to contest for the office.
The group is made up of some leaders of organisations for Atiku, such as National Co-ordinator, Turaki Arewa Vanguard; National President, Middle Belt Network for Atiku; South-West for Atiku 2023 leader/convener and National Co-ordinator, North4North Support Group for Atiku.
The Leader/Convener of the coalition, Femi Osabinu, who made the appeal at a media briefing, which held at the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre in Abuja, yesterday, said the country needs a young and more energetic unifier that will be able to handle the rigours of being physically present in crises spots to make the physical and psychological statement of government being in charge and committed to finding lasting solutions to national challenges.
He said: “While Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has served the nation with distinction as evidenced in the fact that we have been his supporters for years, it is also undeniable that at 77 years of age going into this race, it will be a mismatch of national priorities to support his quest, taking into consideration the unique interplay of circumstances currently confronting our country.
“Nigeria needs a young and more energetic unifier, who will be able to handle the rigours of being physically present in crises spots to make the physical and psychological statement of government being in charge and committed to finding lasting solutions to our national challenges.”
“In 2007 when former President Olusegun Obasanjo moved for third term, it was the same Atiku Abubakar that stood up and said there was a gentleman agreement that power must go back to the North after Obasanjo’s tenure.
“Having been around for decades and served at different levels, up to the highest level of government as a very influential Vice President, we believe Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has done his tour of duty in the front row of national affairs. It is now time for him to take a back seat and play the role of elder statesman, the billings of which he had been living up to.
“His role, going forward, should be of providing guidance to the younger ones across ethnic, religious and partisan divisions to help build a consensus of what Nigeria should be and how she ought to go about becoming all she can be in the comity of nations,” he added.