Former Military Governor of Plateau State and current Chairman, Strategic Mobilization Committee of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Major General Lawrence Onoja (retd)has given reasons why the Middle-Belt did not buy the idea of power returning to the North in 2015.
Onoja, who is also a member of a political pressure group, Congress for Equality and Change, in a media interaction in Abuja at the weekend disclosed that “Middle-Belt of today is different from the Middle-Belt of the sixties when we were categorized as part of the core North.”
According to him, President Goodluck Jonathan has the constitutional right to go for a second term in office if he so wishes and,assuring that the Middle-Belt region would back him for a second term in office because he is qualified for it.
His words: “There could be anger in certain parts of the North. But there is no anger against Jonathan in my own Middle-Belt part of the North. We support Jonathan for his second term. Every group has the fundamental right to agitate for power. The groups that are talking, the Northern Elders, Arewa, they are not political parties. They are socio-political cum cultural associations. So, they probably cannot install a President. At best, they are talking of supporting a candidate from the North. You don’t blame me for saying that my own people support Jonathan.”
While asserting that his people were not regarded as core northerners even by the so called North, Onoja reasoned: “Assuming the power comes to the North today, would you tell them to concede power to the Idoma people where I come from because I am a minority in the North and Jonathan is a minority form South-South.”
He then wondered: “Why don’t you allow him finish his second term; then after that, any other group can now begin to agitate for power,” just as he admitted that “every group has a right to ask for power” believing however that “power is not given that way.”
The retired General concluded: “I want to let you know categorically here that it is not yet time for power to shift to the North. Mr. President has not done his second term. All the other Presidents were given opportunity to do their second terms and Mr. President, by virtue of the fact that he is a minority like me, it would be unfair and an injustice to stop him from doing his second term. If he finishes his second term in 2019, then other areas or blocks can now begin to agitate for power shift.
I think it is only fair to allow Mr. President do his second term.”