It said that Buhari had, since succeeding Jonathan, disappointed a majority of Nigerians who believed in his leadership before the 2015 elections.
NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated that the forum wants the country’s next president to be one who would act in the “opposite direction” of the present administration.
Baba-Ahmed, whose group solicited for Buhari’s resignation in December 2020, spoke on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ breakfast programme.
He said: “Is there any Nigerian who is not disappointed in President Buhari including diehard APC (All Progressives Congress) people? Is there anybody who would not tell you he wished President Buhari had done much better?
“We raised huge expectations, we told people, ‘Get rid of Jonathan, put Buhari there, he would fix corruption, he would fix insecurity, he would fix the economy’, (but) look at where we are now.”
“How can anybody say they are happy with the record of President Buhari? Even the people very close to him would tell you that they wished he could have done much better and he hasn’t.
“So, what we need to do now is to get ready to elect another President who would go in the opposite direction, a President who has a vision and a clear idea of what governance involves rather than just being a President.
“So, I am disappointed and that is why today, I am actively involved in trying to see that a new leader emerges in getting Nigerians a new lease of life.”
Jonathan, a former governor of Bayelsa State, was the Vice-President between 2007 and 2010 and became president after the death of then-President Umaru Yar’Adua in 2010.
He contested the 2011 presidential election and won but failed in his pursuit to get re-elected four years after, losing to Buhari.
Sequel to the clamour for a power shift to the South, Jonathan, who is presently Buhari’s Special Envoy to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is being courted by some politicians with an eye on the 2023 elections.
The National Secretary of the party’s Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Planning Committee, John Akpanudoedehe, affirmed Jonathan’s constitutional eligibility recently when he stated that the ex-president would get an opportunity to contest the 2023 presidency on the party’s platform if he joins the APC.
Baba-Ahmed, however, advised Southern governors not to negatively politicise the 2023 presidency, advising instead that they should instead agree as the North had lived under Southern Presidents — Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan — since Nigeria’s return to democratic rule in 1999.
He said: “We have lived under Southern presidents because we recognise that Nigeria is made up of sections, ethnic groups and interests. We recognise that we are northerners, pluralism is in our DNA; we accept that, we live with it.
“Don’t make the issue of the presidency a matter over which Nigerians would fight and threaten the country and the democratic process; that is very dangerous for this country.”
The NEF spokesman maintained that what Nigeria requires is a president who realises the need to rebuild the country, secure Nigerians and check the downward trajectory of the country’s economy.
“The nation needs a leader that would do the things that President Buhari hasn’t done, create inclusiveness, address resentment and frustration in other parts of the country and the north and speak and act for everybody,” he said.
However, he ridiculed both the ruling APC and the leading opposition party, the PDP, noting that they had no answer to what Nigerians want in a candidate in 2023.
According to him, “smaller parties” might have the answer and should be permitted to field candidates with the character and capacity to lead Nigeria from all its present travails.