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N’East group knocks NEF scribe, others over PDP ticket controversy

By Saxone Akhaine, Kaduna
28 April 2022   |   2:26 am
North East Unity Forum (NEUF) has frowned upon what it termed unnecessary controversy stirred by the utterances of the Director, Publicity and Advocacy Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed....

Hakeem Baba-Ahmed

North East Unity Forum (NEUF) has frowned upon what it termed unnecessary controversy stirred by the utterances of the Director, Publicity and Advocacy Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, over the move to prune the number of aspirants for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket.

In a statement, yesterday, Chairman of NEUF, Mohammed Hammajo, described the claim by Baba-Ahmed that NEF is not affiliated to any political party or aspirant as a deliberate disinformation calculated to hoodwink the gullible.

His words: “We are particularly concerned by the apparent contradictions in the major dissenting voices principally represented by Baba-Ahmed and Yahaya Kwande with a few insignificant ones in tow.

“Why did Baba-Ahmed or his principal, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto, kept silent throughout the period of the consensus exercise carried out by Prof. Ango Abdullahi’s team, only to find their voices when the outcome did not favour them?”

Hammajo noted that Baba-Ahmed and all those denouncing the process failed to dispute the fact that Governors Tambuwal and Bala Mohammed, former Senate President Bukola Saraki and Mohammed Hayatudeen actually initiated the process, or that they informed Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (rtd) of their intention, and requested elderly intervention and advice in the event that their efforts failed to produce consensus.

“They could as well not deny Babangida’s initial response advising them to amicably settle for one candidate among themselves, which they all turned down and insisted on entrusting him with the sole responsibility of picking one by his discretion. Nor can any of them deny that, based on their insistence, Babangida requested Prof. Abdullahi to design and manage a process that could improve a consensus agreement among the four aspirants.

“Yet these people only found their voices after Abdullahi concluded that assignment and released a detailed report, which apparently did not favour their agenda,” Hammajo added.

The group chided Baba-Ahmed’s claim that Abdullahi, the convener of NEF, acted in his personal capacity and not by virtue of his position as leader of NEF, saying it contradicted credible confirmations by founding fathers of NEF like Chief Paul Unongo.

“This much was clarified by Unongo’s statement of the same date, in which he, a former NEF chairman, explained that a list of carefully-selected leaders were involved in the exercise with majority of them drawn from the leadership NEF,” the group recalled.

NEUF insisted that unless the questions it raised were satisfactorily answered, it would be left with no option than to treat the bulk of the opposition to the exercise as conflict of interest and hold Baba-Ahmed responsible for the plot to place the North at a disadvantage by going into the primaries with too many aspirants.