A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, and the spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, have thrown their weights behind the presidential candidate of Peoples Redemption Party, Kola Abiola, to win the 2023 presidential election.
They strongly expressed their support at the party’s ‘Manifesto Debate and Mobilisation Drive’ programme in Abuja on Saturday.
Baba-Ahmed in a recent interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today, said the forum would subject candidates of various political parties seeking the votes of the North to a rigorous interrogation exercise until the group was convinced about who had the capacity to fix the country.
According to him, the northern elders made a terrible mistake in 2015 when they charged the people to cede their bloc votes to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) without requesting his blueprint.
The development is also coming barely five days after Kola, son of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 election, MKO Abiola, promised Nigerians that he would not bring the baggage of past administrations and recycled politicians into governance when elected.
The 60-year-old gave the assurance when he appeared for Arise TV’s presidential debate at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
While describing himself as a breath of fresh air with no record of holding public offices in Nigeria, Kola Abiola stated that he would prove the bookmakers wrong by winning the 2023 presidential election on the platform of PRP.
While endorsing Abiola on Saturday, Jega mocked those who claimed that the 2023 presidential election would be down to a three-horse race.
The former INEC chairman said, “There is no doubt that people will say all sorts of things, many of which are just laughable. In my cultural adage, there is a saying that you don’t know who eats the most until the soup is finished.
“I can tell you that our candidate, Kola Abiola, is a very strong and focused candidate. He is quite dynamic and has a lot of intellectual capacity. With his experience, I think he stands taller than any of the candidates contesting for elections.”
While disclosing that he was a proud member of the party, Jega added that the PRP was more than capable to produce the next set of leaders that can resuscitate the country.
“We believe in our party, the PRP whose ideology is clear. It is a people-oriented party with committed, selfless, and capable candidates who can go into elective positions. That is what Nigeria needs at this moment to bring substantive changes,” he said.
Similarly, Baba-Ahmed drummed support for the son of the late MKO Abiola, who he said had the capacity and experience to lead the PRP into the Presidential Villa in 2023.
The NEF spokesman also urged the party members and candidates to work hard and ensure that they win every available seat in public office in next year’s poll.
“We are in the PRP because we know it can win the presidential election and form the next government. We have the people and ideas and we know that the opposition is not better than us.
“In fact, we have the best team for the presidential candidate, his running mate, and the governorship flag bearers. And we are begging them to please carry our flag and take us to the Villa. If we don’t win this election, it is not because the opposition is better than us or that Nigerians prefer money politics to ours. It is because we did not work hard for it. Tell your members that we are in this to win. We are serious about forming the government in 2023.”