Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), says the north has the votes to produce the next president.
There have been talks in the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) about zoning the presidency to the south in 2023.
But speaking at the weekend at the maiden Maitama Sule Lecture Series that was held in Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state, Baba-Ahmed said the north will not succumb to intimidation not to take a shot at the presidency in 2023.
The NEF spokesman said the north inherited leadership, and that the region “is not stupid” by being humble.
“We will lead Nigeria the way we have led Nigeria before whether we are president or vice-president, we will lead Nigeria,” The Punch quoted him as saying.
“We have the majority of the votes and democracy says vote whom you want. Why should we accept a second class position when we know we can buy a form and contest for first class and we will win?
“Why does anybody need to threaten us and intimidate us? We will get that power but be humble because power comes from God. We inherited leadership and being honest is not being stupid.
“The north has pride; we are humble enough to know that we are going to run Nigeria with other people but we are not going to pay a second fiddle to anybody. We may not have the most robust economy, there are people who are trying to strangulate us even more than we are being strangled.
“We are ready for this. We will consider every economic adversity, challenge. We will fix the northern economy and we are the only ones who can fix this northern economy. For that reason, we are not for sale. We are in the process of rebuilding the north and we will rebuild the north from 2023.
“This is democracy. If they don’t like what Nigeria is, they will say they want to break up from this country, we don’t pay attention to those people, we are focused on the fact that we are running a democratic system.”
Baba-Ahmed said if a candidate from the north is voted into office in 2023, anyone who does not like that could leave the country.