Saturday, 3rd June 2023

Atiku warned against running with serving governor

By Saxone Akhaine (Kaduna) and Emmanuel Samaila (Yola)
06 June 2022   |   3:07 am
Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) has cautioned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate on the 2023 ballot not to pick a serving governor from the South as his deputy.

[FILES] Nigerian former Vice President Atiku Abubakar speaks during the opposition Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) primaries in Abuja, on May 28, 2022. – Former Nigerian vice president Atiku Abubakar on May 28, 2022 won the opposition party PDP’s primary to choose its candidate for the 2023 presidential election, according to ballot results. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Northern group backs Southern APC presidential candidate
• ACF chieftain faults Igbo demand for party’s ticket

Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) has cautioned the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate on the 2023 ballot not to pick a serving governor from the South as his deputy.

Addressing journalists, yesterday, in Yola, the National President of NYLF, Elliot Afiyo, observed that the political acrimony among Southern governors of PDP would affect the chances of Atiku winning the presidential election in 2023 if he picks any of them.

“We are totally opposed to (Atiku) choosing any of the serving governors as running mate, because of the political acrimony among them and the possibility of political betrayal. There are people, who strongly believe in Nigeria and Atiku’s vision that started this journey and whose allegiance could not be doubted despite threats to their lives and businesses,” he stated.

The group called on the people of the South-East to support Atiku, saying his presidency would open the gate for the zone to produce the next president.

Afiyo said: “Atiku’s presidency will open a wide gate for the people of the South East region to produce his successor after his tenure. In the South, the South West and South-South had produced president; so there will be no argument after Atiku might have completed his tenure.”

Meanwhile, as the All Progressives Congress (APC) picks its presidential candidate this week, the group said the party would shoot itself in the leg if it picks a northerner.

“The case in opposition PDP is different because the last president on the platform of the party is from the South.

“However, in APC, the serving President is a northerner; so picking another northerner to succeed him is morally wrong and will affect the political fortunes of the party,” he asserted.

Appealing to Nigerians to vote for Atiku, he noted that only the former VP could re-unite Nigerians.
BUT former Secretary-General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Anthony Sani, has faulted Ohanaeze Ndigbo’s appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to pick an APC candidate from the South East, arguing that democracy thrives on justice to all stakeholders.

In a statement, yesterday, in Kaduna, he expressed concern over reports that Ohanaeze called on Buhari to concede the president to the Igbo of the South-East or Ikwere of Rivers State in South-South in 2023, wondering about the political wisdom behind such appeal.

Sani said: “Nigeria practices multi-party democracy through which individual and group aspirations find expression. A serving president never gives the presidency, because it is not at his beck and call.”

“What is more, South East and South-South are the hubs of the main opposition PDP, who had called Buhari names that are not his own. Besides, the President is not at liberty to concede the president to any group of his choice undemocratically, let alone to a group that is not predominantly in the ruling party.”

According to the ACF chieftain, Ohanaeze cannot feign ignorance that Nigeria’s democracy is not hinged on ethnic nationalism, but on majority rule.

He added: “That explains why the call by Ohanaeze on Buhari to concede the presidency to the Igbo in 2023 is misplaced, unfair and undemocratic. If Igbo, who hold sway in PDP, could not persuade the party to concede the presidential candidacy to them in South East or South-South, one wonders how possible it would be for Buhari to do so through the ruling party.

“Ohanaeze should, therefore, leave President Buhari alone and concentrate on its winning game plan for 2023. In doing so, there should be no threat or intimidation, but persuasion.