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ACF receives Olawepo-Hashim, roots for emergent credible leadership

By Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna
25 December 2018   |   4:18 am
The socio-cultural organisation of Northern groups, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has declared that despite being a non-partisan body, it would support the emergence of a credible presidential candidate that would promote peace, unity and development as well as the sustenance of the rule of law in Nigeria during the 2019 poll.

[FIL EPHOTO] Peoples Trust (PT), which recently nominated Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim as its presidential candidate, has emerged tops among the over 20 newly registered political parties fielding candidates for elective positions in next year’s elections.

The socio-cultural organisation of Northern groups, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has declared that despite being a non-partisan body, it would support the emergence of a credible presidential candidate that would promote peace, unity and development as well as the sustenance of the rule of law in Nigeria during the 2019 poll.

The Arewa leaders noted that although ACF would not openly canvass for support for any presidential candidate in the forthcoming poll, it would sensitise Nigerians on how to elect a credible candidate that could chart a sustainable path for development, peace, justice and the rule of law in the country.

The northern leaders made their stand known when they received the presidential candidate of Peoples Trust (TP), Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim alongside other members of the party at the ACF Secretariat in Kaduna on Sunday. They explained that Arewa elders have already concluded plans to sensitize Nigerians through enlightenment campaigns to educate the electorate on how to choose a credible president during the 2019 general election.

In his remarks during the visit, the Acting Chairman of ACF, Alhaji Musa Liman Kwande, stated: “Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), as you are aware, is a non-partisan, non-political, non-religious body devoid of any ethnic or tribal sentiments. Thus, its status as the foremost Northern socio-cultural organization which tries to promote peace, unity, justice and the rule of law, with the main thrust to promoting and protecting the interest and development of the north and its people, within the context of one indivisible nation, is not in question.

“In our non-partisan disposition, we do not align ourselves to any individual or political party. Rather, we strive to weigh the scale on what is good for the North in particular, and the overall good of the nation.”He told Olawepo-Hashim that it was well known that he has availed himself to contest for the office of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in 2019, under the platform of People’s Trust (PT).

ACF, acting chairman added: “I feel quite enthused to acknowledge the emergence of new breed politicians like your humble self vying for the various elective offices in our nascent democratic dispensation which, by and large, has the potential to engender healthy political process as we strive to consolidate on the achievements recorded so far.

“As you are quite aware, Nigeria’s political and democratic terrain, at this moment in time, is fraught with negative underpinnings that we all must, as citizens and political actors, cultivate the will and courage to free our country from all that we see could militate against its progress and development in all ramifications.”

While stressing that Nigeria’s emergence in a multi-party democracy is a healthy development in the onerous task of nation building, the ACF chieftain stated: “It is therefore significant, under the prevailing situation in our nationhood, to witness quite a prolific array of political formations and platforms under which each and every Nigerian can have expression.

“We therefore welcome the emergence of political parties and your good self as the presidential candidate of one of the new parties, the Peoples Trust (PT). As we hold the belief that every aspirant to the office of president of our great country should have an articulate and thorough blueprint that will catapult the country to be among the comity of great nations.”

Further Kwande said very positive and pragmatic policies and measures should be put in place to fight against corruption, insecurity, impunity, anarchy and a host of other disingenuous activities, which if not effectively contained, would certainly be the bane of our progress and development as a people and one cohesive nation.

He said: “ACF therefore appeals to you leaders of various political parties to ensure that you live by the letters and spirit of the Abuja Peace Accord put up by the National Peace Committee under the former head of state, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (retd), which you all signed and pledged to uphold. We expect you to run issue-based campaign and refrain from all forms of incitement, be it religious, tribal or ethnic both by yourselves and all agents acting for or on your behalf.

“We urge you to seriously commit yourselves and your political parties to peaceful campaign and strict adherence to the Peace Accord.”The northern leader warned against political thuggery and rigging in the 2019 general election, saying, “As you are fully aware previous elections were marred by violence caused by the behaviour of some members of political parties and their supporters; we cannot afford to have a repeat of such in 2019.”

He appealed to the police and other security agencies involved in ensuring peaceful election to live above board and maintain neutrality in the performance of their assignments, just as he tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to remain an impartial umpire in the conduct of the 2019 general election.

“Ensure that a fair level playing ground is provided to all political parties and their candidates,” he charged, “On our part, the forum has put in place a sensitization programme that will assist in enlightening the electorate on peaceful conduct during the election. This comprises Radio and TV jingles, suggestions to all Nigerians, pamphlet on electing credible and trusted politicians and adverts in the print media as our token contributions to peaceful conduct of election. We also call on other NGOs and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to join efforts in the sensitization campaign.”

In his response, the PT presidential candidate, Olawepo-Hashim, praised ACF for its contributions to politics and nation building and urged the Arewa leaders to continue to promote sustainable development in the country. He said he decided to visit and formally urge the leaders to support his candidature in the 2019 presidential election in order to overcome the misrule of the present administration, assuring that he would provide the much needed leadership to the turn country around.