The apex northern sociocultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) on Wednesday cautioned its members to stop endorsing presidential aspirants in the 2023 general election, Leadership reports.
ACF noted that as the race to 2023 general election gathers momentum, its members will be subjected to a series of questions from outsiders as to which candidate the forum will endorse for the presidency, hence the need for members to beware of their responses.
ACF chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who gave the charge in his opening remarks at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting further advised members that their answers to such questions should always be, “ACF is not a political party and will not endorse any candidate”.
Ogbeh also spoke on the need for the forum to hold meeting with its counterparts in South East, South West and South-South in order to douse political tension in the country and ensure peaceful coexistence among Nigerians ahead of the forthcoming general election.
“Our plans to have meetings with Afenifere, Ohanaeze, South South People’s Congress is still on course because there is need to put a stop to abusive words against one region or the other”. Ogbeh said.
“We should desist from endorsing any candidate for the 2023 presidency. If anybody ask you about endorsement, tell such person that we are not political party.
“Even for the 2023, we do not know yet who the candidate is. We are not political party. We do not participate in political activities except where it becomes necessary. May God help us with good candidate. It is only the Almighty God that can solve our problem.
“Our plans to have meetings with our counterpart; South South People’s Congress, Afenifere, Ohanaeze is still in progress. Once we are done with the plan we will let you know. We need to make peace. Abusive words on social media will not help us. We don’t want chaos in this country. If we turn refugees, where do we go? We will abandon all our property because we cannot carry anything along with us other than Ghana-Must-Go bag,” he said.
On kidnapping and killing of students and pupils in both private and public schools across the country, the chairman said, “Government must try very hard to bring sanity to our school system, otherwise we are going nowhere because there are crimes like cultism, sodomy and others in most of our schools today.”
Meanwhile, ACF has commended the government of Kaduna State and Malam Nasir El-Rufai for the grand efforts made by his government to improve the infrastructural facilities in Kaduna State.
ACF in the commendation contained in its communique issued at the end of the NEC meeting in Kaduna yesterday noted that Kaduna is wearing a new and beautiful face and encouraged other state governments to copy the good infrastructural development in Kaduna State.
According to the communique signed by the chairman Chief Audu Ogbeh, “We also noticed that the Kaduna State has attracted direct foreign investment in the state. We also encourage other states to study and follow the progressive initiatives of Kaduna State government which has led to this progressive economic achievements by the state.
“Still, we encourage the state government to embark on the study of the impact of the modernization drive so that those adversely effected do not come back to haunt the rest of the society.”
ACF observed that while the forum is impressed with some state governments who have performed well, the forum is also demoralized by the governors who have performed very poorly and consequently intends to strengthen partnership with state governments of the north.
Stressing, “It is only when our partnership is strengthened that we can make progress. There is also the need to renew our partnership members of the National Assembly from the North.
“As the country moves towards 2023. We of the ACF need to remind our members and all that we are not a political party. We do not have a candidate and will not endorse one in the 2023 election North or South.
“When the political parties who have the exclusive permission of the constitution to sponsor candidates choose a presidential candidate each, we shall engage the candidates and find out what programme they have for the north”.
ACF noted that all the commercial banks promoted by northerners lost their licences during the banking consolidation policies of Obasanjo and Soludu. The forum said there is the need for the northern business class to put their heads together and establish banks.
“We have always complained of late of the security situation in the north. We are still worried about this. The security conditions in the north are far from satisfactory. We urge the federal and state government to embark on measures that will improve the situation,” he said.
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