Crack in ACF as chieftain disowns scribe, names Atiku North’s anointed choice
Ex-party executives in Kaduna back PDP candidate
There appears a crack in the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) following discordant tunes from the once united socio-political organisation. Reason: Some northern leaders have declared presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, as the anointed choice of the region for February 25 poll.
The endorsement is contrary to the statement issued on Sunday by the group’s Secretary General, Murtala Aliyu, which highlighted the qualities Nigerians must look out in choosing the next president for the country. It equally charged the electorate to cast their ballots devoid of religious, ethnic and geographical considerations.
But during a press conference at ACF secretariat in Kaduna, yesterday, the Assistant National Auditor, Mohammed Alhaji Yakubu, faulted Aliyu, insisting: “There was no time the National Executive Council (NEC) or any of the major decision-making organs of the Forum met to direct the Secretary on the positions he took in that statement.”
According to him, “the North has already decided to support Atiku Abubakar to win the 2023 elections on Saturday, and there is no going back on that.”
He explained that notable northern elders, including Alhaji Zango Daura and Prof. Ango Abdullahi, had settled for Atiku.
Yakubu, who is also convener of Atiku/ Okowa Patriots, said the region is supporting the former Vice President not because he is a northerner, rather due to his capacity and experience to take the country to the Promised Land.
“ACF came to being as a result of certain happenings in the country. Its emergence is to protect northern interest. And so far, our elders and leaders in the likes of Alhaji Sani Zango Daura (Danmasanin Daura) have given us a direction. Atiku is the candidate of the North and that is the direction we are going to follow.
“And that’s the candidate majority of northerners are going to vote for. So, this is one of the reason that I called for the press conference and if there are other issues you want clarification, I am ready to give you answers,” he added.
On the statement issued by the scribe backing rotational presidency, Yakubu stated: “It’s not true. That’s why I am holding this press conference. There was no time the ACF met to take that kind of decision. That kind of decision can either come from NEC or NWC. So, since none of these bodies had met, how would that kind of decision emerge? Either the press is misrepresenting the Secretary General or few people had concocted some stories.”
Asked if the group is in support of his position, he responded: “Of course. ACF is established to protect interest of the North and where is Atiku from? And let me give you a background story. If you have been following the ACF history, you will discover that at each point in time that the county is at a crossroads, ACF and the North usually come to stabilise the country.
“The North supported Obasanjo and he won; the North supported former President Goodluck Jonathan and Jonathan won. Each time the North supports anybody, it considers capacity and competence and integrity.”
ALSO, the Congress of Former National Executives of Political Parties (CFNEPP) in Kaduna has endorsed the Wazirin Adamawa for the weekend’s contest.
The National Coordinator, Suleiman Ahmed Akasua, in a statement, said the group “took the decision to endorse Alhaji Atiku Abubakar after a careful and painstaking assessment of all the candidates contesting the February 25, 2023 presidential election.”
Besides, CFNEPP listed factors that informed the endorsement to include his “rich wealth of experience, deep understanding of Nigeria’s delicate diversities, detribalised, tremendous, goodwill and acceptability across the length and breadth of Nigeria and his humane disposition to all Nigerians irrespective of place of origin, religion or language.”