Comrade Elliot Afiyo is the National President of the Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) unarguably the most influential Youth Group in the Country that has been in the process of producing the Country’s Presidents since 1999. He is also the Secretary – General of the Association of West African Monarchs (AWAM), the umbrella body of the Traditional Rulers in West Africa. In this interview, Comrade Afiyo bares his mind on some important national issues.
Let’s look at the 2023 Presidency. Are you in support of South-East?
Naturally and for fairness, equity and justice, the South-East or North-East should be allowed to produce the next president in 2023. But take a cursory and critical look at the situation on ground, you will agree with me that there is no any South-Easterner that is serious or capable of curtailing or solving the insecurity in the country. Looking at what happened during Jonathan’s administration, it will be difficult for a South-Easterner to address the Security challenges.
To my own judgment based on my professional know-how in security and intelligence, coupled with my experience on political security matrix of Nigeria, it is better to allow somebody from the North to tackle the unusual situation at hand in 2023.
Are you saying that the North-West or South-West should also be allowed?
It is not only wicked but evil for somebody to come out from the North-West or South-West to contest for the 2023 Presidency. I am telling you the truth, if somebody comes out from the North-West in 2023, the political unity of the North will be destroyed totally.
There will be nothing like Northern interest anymore. We would be having North-West, North-Central and North-East interests and that will be the political downfall of the North. It will extremely be difficult for a northerner especially from the North-West to be voted as President.
Let the North-West try it and you will see what will happen.
Sir, there is a plan for mass protests by the Northisbleeding group, are you in support of these protests?
That is what I am saying; for the past ten years, there are mass killings in the North-East, North was not bleeding. For the past five years, there have been killings in the North-Central, yet North wasn’t bleeding.
All these Mallams, Imams, the so-called “Northisbleeding” Sponsors, turned blind eyes to the atrocities and killings in the North-Central and North-East.
The North is not bleeding. If at all there is any bleeding, then it should be the North-West. So it is the North-West that is bleeding not the North which I totally agree that it is a part of the North.
The protest itself lacks credibility since it is geared towards popularizing the interests of the sponsors. As such, it should not be endorsed, encouraged or supported by the Northerners.
But it is rumoured that a serving Governor from the North-East is sponsoring the group so as to project his presidential ambition.
That is a pure and concocted lie from the pit of hell. Presently, there is no serving Governor from the North-East that has presidential interest apart from Senator Bala Mohammed, the Governor of Bauchi State. If Bala is involved, I would have been the leader and organizer of the protest. Mind you, Senator Bala is an advanced citizen.
He will never engage in such mediocratic venture. I definitely know that one of the former Governors is involved with a sole purpose of drawing attention so as to get the APC National Chairmanship, and also a serving Governor from the North-West is interested in the Presidency. May be the Reporter interchanged the serving Governor from the North-West and former Governor from the North-East. That should have been the report.
Sir, let me draw your attention back to 2015 where it is believed that you played a significant role in the underground works that brought President Buhari to power. Why did you refused to do the same in 2019?
In 2015, there was a national need and desire for change that was why I played that role. In 2019, I must confess to you that all of us who played that role were disappointed. We decided that PDP should be supported and Alh. Atiku Abubakar was supported and he got the ticket.Again, we were disappointed with what Atiku did after he secured the ticket. You will recall that I led a delegation to former President Obasanjo to register our disappointment after Atiku picked Peter Obi as his running mate without consultations.
He also went to Dubai with his team and shared all the positions before coming to Nigeria to call for a meeting of the stakeholders. Thirdly, he made a right and good statement in a wrong way and time that he will privatize the NNPC.Because of these three costly mistakes or political errors, it was decided that even if he eventually wins the election, he should not be sworn in as President because there was nothing else on the table to be shared and the forces that be, both inside and outside the country, have already withdrawn their support.
I can authoritatively tell you that the 2019 Presidential election was won by the PDP not Atiku. I am sure you know what I mean.
But Sir, do you foresee another scenario that will be repeated in 2023?
Of course yes, for two reasons:One: There is a very high desire for change now than in 2015. The rural north is ready for a change. They are ready to vote for anything but APC.Two: President Buhari has assured the nation and the international community of his willingness and readiness to bequeath a legacy of free, fair and transparent elections in 2023 both orally and in written form and he has been doing that in all the elections conducted after 2015 general elections.
He has sworn severally that he will adhere strictly to that because he needs peace after retirement.
So you are sure PDP will win the 2023 elections?
I am pretty sure but with conditions. The PDP has made the first mistake of producing her National Chairman from the North-Central instead of the North-West or South-West. I strongly believe that this mistake will be rectified after the emergence of the presidential candidate which must come from the North East.
Are you saying this because you are from the North-East?
No, I am saying it because I am involved and I want the right thing to be done so as to get the desired result. Truly if PDP produced her presidential candidate from any other Zone, then it is good as mortgaging her brightest chances in 2023.
Mind you, I am not only a political Scientist but an Intelligence Political Expert who is directly involved in this game since 1992.
Thank you Comrade.
You are welcome.