From Paul Orude Bauchi
The Forum of Christian and Muslim Political Leaders from the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has adopted the Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), as the consensus candidate for the 2023 election.
Arising from meeting of leaders and delegates from all over the north comprising of religions leaders, women and youth organisations took the decision in Abuja on Friday at the Atiku Abubakar Hall of Shehu Musa Yaradua centre.
The forum adopted the report of IRS technical committee led by a former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Hon Mohammed Umara Kumalia and Barrister Nunge Mele, SAN.
It will be recalled that the forum had on October 8, set up the committee to recommend a pan-Nigerian platform to adopt in the 2023 presidential election necessitated by the rejection of the same faith Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
The resolution was contained in a communique jointly signed by a former Deputy Governor of Sokoto State and minister of Water Resources during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo Hon. Mukhari Shagari and Professor D. D. Sheni.
According to the group, it adopted the PDP presidential ticket because it is a representative of the country’s religious diversity as a people.
“The presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar is the only candidate among the candidates of the four leading political parties that has the knowledge and experience of managing the country at the presidential level. This gives him the advantage to set the ball rolling from day one,” the communique stated
They argued that Atiku has a track record of working harmoniously with all classes of people across religious and ethnic diversity and “is a well-known talent hunter who has demonstrated capacity to hunt highly experienced talents across different sectors and bring them into government. This country needs highly talented people at this critical time to pull the country out of the doldrums and bring it back to the path of stability, security and prosperity”
“The Forum therefore adopts the PDP and the Atiku/Okowa Presidential ticket as the right ticket to support in the 2023 presidential elections, as it addresses all the concerns of inclusiveness, fairness and national cohesion.
“The Forum recommends for support the Atiku Abubakar/Ifeanyi okowa presidential ticket to all well-meaning Nigerians across the ethnic, sectional and religious diversities, in order to foster unity, peace, development and progress”
In rejecting the other leading political parties and candidates, the Forum argued that, although the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and the Labour Party (LP) were inclusive as they represented the religious diversity of the country populated by a dominant population of Christians and Muslims, they lacked policy direction and political structures.
It stated that the four leading political parties that were considered included the All Progressives Congress (APC), the New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP), the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
It noted that the NNPP and the Labour Party presidential tickets of are inclusive, representing the religious diversity of the country populated by a dominant population of Muslims and Christians.
“It is however noted that the NNPP and LP have not yet unveiled their Strategic Policy Plan for Nigerians to interrogate. This is less than 3 months to the general elections. And so, it is safe to say that no one except the two parties know the direction in which they intend to take the country. Nigerians cannot go into an election blind folded, especially in view of the myriad of problems bedeviling the nation,” the communique said.
“The NNPP and LP do not have all round grassroot structures required of a political party seeking the highest office in the country.
“They do not have reasonable presence of its members in positions of governance at national, state and local government levels. The few if any, have only recently decamped to the parties. There seems to be a dearth of experienced hands within their parties to pilot the affairs of state.
“Based on INEC’s final list of candidates for the 2023 elections, the NNPP could not field in all the seats for the office of Governor and House of Representatives while LP could not field in all the candidates at the levels of Governor, National Assembly (Senate and House of representatives) and State Houses of Assembly.
“The NNPP and LP do not have the required structures to win the presidential election and even if they win, they cannot be able to smoothly run the government as they will not have the required parliamentary majority to successfully pilot the affairs of government.
“The APC as we all know has fielded the same faith (Muslim-Muslim) ticket which excludes a large demography of Christians who do not feel represented by the ticket. The APC presidential ticket does not promote inclusiveness, unity, religious harmony and cohesion. A large population of Muslims have also expressed reservations to this ticket and have called for fairness and inclusivity.
Consequently, this ticket is outrightly rejected by the Forum and the Forum hereby calls on all lovers of democracy, peaceful coexistence, unity and religious harmony to reject the ticket in its entirety”