2023: North has not endorsed any presidential candidate, Arewa leaders clarify
Northern leaders, under the umbrella of Arewa Joint Committee (AJC), yesterday, clarified they have not endorsed any presidential candidate for the 2023 general elections.
Also, AJC, which comprises Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Jama’atu Matan Arewa, Arewa House, Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), said blueprints and other commitments made by the candidates would soon be made available to Nigerians for direct assessment.
During a press conference at the ACF secretariat in Kaduna, yesterday, the Secretary General of the Forum, Mallam Murtala Aliyu, said Arewa leaders “hosted five of the six candidates who had accepted to participate in the (recent) historic interactions.” Alhaji Musa Rabiu Kwankwaso abstained.
Aliyu said: “These interactions, in themselves, were not planned with the goal of endorsing a candidate. They are part of a longer process that plans to generate commitments to address challenges of the north by candidates, and which covers a substantial part of the campaigning period.
“We plan to extract and publish these commitments, so that Nigerians may measure and evaluate candidates against them. Our goal is to afford citizens an opportunity to match candidates against their commitments to matters that are central to the interests of the north.”
THIS came as another group, Arewa Forum of Conscience, distanced itself from a rumoured endorsement of Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 elections.
In a statement by its Chairman, Coordinating Committee, Musa Salihu Getso, the group urged northerners to be vigilant against the machinations of paid groups presenting self-serving positions as the opinion of people of the region.
He said: “We have watched keenly, and with concern, discreet moves by a particular presidential candidate to sponsor a contracted northern endorsement for himself.
“We are aware that the move led to a meeting called by the ACF, a section of the Northern Elders’ Forum, and other peripheral associations in Kaduna on Saturday, October 15, 2022.
“We are also aware that the invitation extended to other political parties’ candidates was a mere smokescreen, as all clandestine arrangements have been concluded for the groups to announce the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as a sole northern consensus candidate.”
He added: “We feel obligated to respond to this unwholesome destabilising move by a people who are so desperate as not to mind the consequences of further causing general disaffection by exploiting the nation’s regional, religious and tribal diversity.”
“Let it be known from the outset that it is not in the character of the north to engage in counterproductive sectional politics, as contemplated by Atiku and his paid groups of people who call themselves elders and leaders of northern Nigeria.
“We, hereby, on behalf of the larger majority of the northern population, call on the Nigerian public to disregard any pronouncement suggesting that any candidate, not the least Atiku Abubakar, has been endorsed as a sole northern candidate.
“We tell the world that any such pronouncement from anybody or group is not made on behalf of the people of northern Nigeria who have been known for playing cosmopolitan and pan-Nigerian politics.”