Northern youths under the umbrella of Arewa Youth Council Forum (AYCF) have taken Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay to the cleaners over his rejection and condemnation of the 2023 presidential ambition of incumbent Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, saying the young man is qualified for the job.
The national President, AYCF, Comrade Yerima Shettima at a press conference in Kaduna, while reacting to Sagay’s claim that the Kogi governor has no record to show to warrant popular support for his presidential ambition, said Prof. Sagay was being economical with the truth.
He said though he is “not holding brief for the young Kogi Governor because I know he is capable of defending himself any day, but I am exercising my freedom of expression as a stakeholder of the Nigerian project”.
Condemning the verbal attack by Prof. Sagay, an All Progressives Congress chieftain, on Governor Yahaya, Shettima declared that “it is quite unfair to make pretentious comments about Kogi State”, saying “it is the most peaceful State in the North today”.
He added that “the world in general and Nigeria in particular has come a long way to pay much attention to ideas being propagated by Professor Sagay because both age and dynamic political thinking may not be in his favor at this stage of his lifetime”.
Yerima argued that the global trend on the democratic scene has been in favor of mentoring of “energetic, newbreed of leaders while the old ones take to advisory role based on their wisdom as elders and not the direct drivers of the democratic system”.
Shettima said it was wrong for Professor Sagay to “indulge in subtle condemnation of young and upcoming new generation of Nigeria’s political class.”
On Sagay’s assertion that Governor Bello cannot run for the presidency come 2023 political dispensation because it would be the South’s turn, Shettima said: “All Nigerians, including the people of Kogi State think their governor will be contesting in 2023 based on competence and not because he is Southerner or Northerner, unless Sagay thinks we are not practicing democracy but a turn-by-turn political system, which does not even exist in any system of civil governance in today’s world.
Shettima urged the Professor of law to “respect the processes of electing a leader under a democratic system and perish the thought of undemocratic turn-by-turn contraption”.
Speaking further, he advised Professor Sagay to visit a popular database known as “Kogipedia” and see a “blow-by-blow account of all the achievements of the incumbent administration in the areas of health, education, security and infrastructure, before jumping to conclusions”.