From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
An attempt by a Kano-based group, the Muhammadu Buhari Legacy Implementation Initiative (MBLII) to market the sole candidacy of the incumbent president ahead of the 2019 election to the apex-northern group, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), yesterday, attracted hostile reception and condemnation.
The ACF did not only fault the idea, it launched a verbal attacked on members of the group, who it stopped short of walking out of its secretariat in Kaduna.
Meanwhile, the South-South Re-awakening group led by its Chairman, Mr. Joseph Ambakederimo urged northerners through the ACF to reignite old political bond that existed between south and north for purpose of peaceful coexistence and development of the people and nation at large.
The MBLII had canvassed during a courtesy visit to ACF that the North must ensure that 2019 presidency did not go to any candidate other than the incumbent president.
“We hope that the presidency will remain in the north without going into alliance with any party, we don’t need to share power with anybody. We don’t need to consider any merger. Our fathers and mothers in ACF, this is why we have come to seek your assistance and cooperation, and this is our story,” chairman of the pro-Buhari, Ado Mohammed, explained.
“After Muhammadu Buhari was elected president in 2015, we decided that we should go round the whole country to implement Buhari’s legacies by assisting him from outside the government.
“We opted to look at his commitment, dedication, patriotism and sincerity of purpose to good governance and development of Nigeria.
“We are going to go round the 36 states of the country, beginning from Kano to mobilise for the president. We have started consultation with the 44 local government areas of Kano State and all the 434 wards are involved. What remains for us now is to start recruitment before the end of July; and we are calling on the management of this Forum to cooperate with us,”leader of the pro-Buhari group said.
Instead of the anticipated warm embrace and pat on the back, what the pro-Buhari group got was verbal attacks, as the ACF said nobody or group had the right to impose a candidate on the north.
Vice Chairman of ACF, Senator Abubakar Girei faulted the suggestion by the MBLII that the north did not need any other candidate besides Buhari.
“I don’t I agree with you that by next election, North does not need any other person. I suggest that you reconsider your position. Secondly, you don’t need to tell us about Buhari’s honesty because we know that was why Nigerians voted for him. What you can do now is to bring out the legacies or achievements of Buhari, which Nigerians don’t know, so that the people can appreciate him and his kind of character.”
Also, National Legal Adviser, Hajiya Halima Alfa, reminded the pro-Buhari group that the ACF was a non-partisan organisartion.
“In our constitution, we say we are not partisan. For this body to pick Buhari as an individual to campaign for in 2017, I think is wrong for this August body. I feel this is not the right place for you to extend this cause because in 2014/2015 when Buhari was coming, I will want you to note that this body (ACF) vouched for him. I will not support your coming here in 2017 to canvass for Buhari in 2019. This is not the right place for this.
“Because of what the constitution of ACF stands for, we have to be very mindful because even in 2015 when Buhari was contesting, he was not the only northern candidate, we had about four of them from Arewa.
“If any one of them should come and say he/she too want to portray the legacies of whoever they stand for, then we have to listen to all. We have to very careful and mindful of what we do.”
Similarly, outspoken Senator Joseph Waku, a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) faulted the pro-Buhari organisation for putting the cart before the horse.
“This is a wrong place for your group to make a first stop, particularly for measuring two political parties in our midst. We are not here to assess political party that is strong or weak. Buhari became president of Nigeria because he is Buhari; it’s not because of you, not because of APC or PDP, it is because he is Buhari. And I keep telling Nigerians that APC did not win election, Buhari won election. Therefore, coming to lecture us about Buhari’s legacy is a wrong move. You are in wrong place.”