Noah Ebije, Kaduna, with agency report
After months of speculations and seeming denial, and barely five days to the presidential election, the northern mouthpiece, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has finally endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (ACF) for the race.
Before now, ACF had tackled Northern Elders Forum (NEF), led by Professsor Ango Abdullahi, for dumping Buhari for the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
Addressing a press conference, yesterday, at the ACF’s secretariat, in Kaduna, the Acting Chairman, National Executive Council (NEC), Alhaji Musa Liman Kwande, said Buhari’s achievements, so far, are enough to give him second term, hence, the decision of the forum to endorse him.
“Consequent upon the contributions of the incumbent government to the economic and infrastructure development of the nation, and the government’s achievements in combating insurgency and other insecurity problems bedeviling the country, ACF believes that president Buhari deserves a second term to consolidate on his achievements.
“The ACF is, therefore, of the view that certain attributes, such as clarity of thought, unity of purpose, content of character and morality of the candidates, their leadership qualities, performance and general acceptability of the candidates not only for the office of the president, but, also, other elective offices, should guide voters in making their choices.
“Furthermore, other considerations are capacity to tackle security challenges, fight corruption and boost the economic, by way of diversification away from over dependence on oil and infrastructure development in order to promote growth.
“The integrity of the candidate to raise the image of Nigeria in the comity of nations is equally important in the election.
“ACF also calls on the politicians and their supporters as well as the electorate, to avoid all forms of violence before, during and after the elections. This is because violence is never a solution to any grievances. It not only destroys our democratic process, but, aslo, life and property. Democracy is a contest of ideas and reasons.
Meanwhile, leaders of the Middle Belt and groups in the region have reiterated their support for the candidate of the People’s Trust, Mr. Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim. The leaders, who addressed hundreds of groups who converged on Abuja, also took a swipe at politicians who are allegedly causing divisions within their fold. They insisted that Olawepo-Hashim remains their choice for the presidency and would vote for him in Saturday’s election.
The Middle Belt leaders included Air Commodore Dan Suleiman (retd.), Dr Musa Moda, Elizabeth Jibrin, Dr Emmanuel Enecheyo, Dr Ene, Captain Agada Joe (retd.), and Hon. Jonathan Asake among others.
The leaders said the region’s endorsement of the the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, was an attempt to divide the Middle Belt ahead of the presidential election.
The coalition of other groups in the region, led by Mr. Suleman Dauda Sukukum, pledged to work assiduously for the success of Olawepo-Hashim in the presidential poll.