This Day (Lagos)

6 December 2012

Nigeria: 2015 Presidential Election - Gowon Advocates Adoption of Electoral College System

Former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (rtd), has called for the adoption of electoral college system in the conduct of the 2015 presidential election in the country.

Gowon, whose administration was the first to balkanise Nigeria into 12 states, also urged the National Assembly to stop the agitation by various interest groups for the creation of new states, saying additional states will not solve the problems facing the country.

Speaking at a two-day conference on "The North and Strategies for Sustainable Development" held in Kaduna yesterday, Gowon, who was represented by the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, said he met with the northern caucus of the Senate last week and asked them to reconsider the introduction of the electoral college in the presidential election.

He also called on northerners to unite and forge a common front in order to ensure the progress and development of the region.

According to him, "Unless we come together in the North, we would continue to have problems. I met with the Senate caucus in the North in Abuja last week and I asked them to reconsider the introduction of electoral college in electing the president."

He added that the creation of more states in the country would not resolved the myriads of problems facing the country but increase the cost of governance.

Also speaking at the occasion, the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Patrick Yakowa, said the North had always remained a catalyst for the unity of the country, maintaining that in spite of the current security challenges, the region will continue to remain a rallying point for the unity and development of the nation.

According to him, "History has shown that the unity and strength of the North, with a collective sense of purpose and focus has been the bastion for the unity and strength of Nigeria. We must do everything to sustain this responsibility bestowed on us by providence."

He noted that in this difficult times, the region must work assiduously to adequately address the problems of intolerance among the tribes if the region must succeed collectively.

He noted that Nigeria, as a multicultural and multilingual nation, with more than 250 distinct languages and ethnic groups, cannot continue to behave as a group of irreconcilable religious and ethnic nationalities, contrary to the 'One North, One People' philosophy "bequeathed to us by no other than the late Sardauna, Ahmadu Bello.

"We should stop encouraging religious and ethnic intolerance. We should, on the contrary, work hard to transform the mindset of the average Nigerian and guide it to positive channels. Nigeria must be great again. She must start tapping its diverse human and natural resources to the fullest which God has endowed the country with and which we are not adequately taking full advantage of" the governor added.

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