ACF Accuses Presidency, Urges INEC To Hold 2015 Elections In One Day

ACF Accuses Presidency, Urges INEC To Hold 2015 Elections In One Day

The Arewa Consultative Forum on Thursday accused the Presidency of adopting a divide and rule tactic against the North ahead of the 2015 general elections.

It however sent a clear message to the government: We’ll reunite all groups in the region before the polls.

To buttress its allegation, the ACF cited the recent visit to President Goodluck Jonathan by some Middle Belt leaders, who urged him to contest the 2015 election.

Among the Middle Belt leaders were a former Military Governor of Katsina State, Major-General Lawrence Onoja, Senator Ameh Ebute and  Senator John Wash.

But the Presidency dismissed the allegation, describing Jonathan as a bridge-builder.

Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Dr. Ahmed Gulak, who reacted on behalf of the   government, said that     every Nigerian or group had the right  to visit the President.

He said, “The ACF should know that the President is the President of Nigeria and any group of people can visit him to give their opinion so far such an opinion is not against the law.

“If the ACF members want to visit the President, the door is open for them. They can come with their own position. They can come to say that they endorse or they do not endorse the President, depending on their opinion.

“President Jonathan is not dividing the North; he is not dividing the South; he is not dividing the West or the East. The President is a bridge-builder who is working for the unity of the country.”

But  to the ACF,  the visit and the endorsement of Jonathan for the 2015 presidential race by the Middle Belt leaders  were pointers that the Presidency had already divided the North.

It said during its 2013 Annual General Meeting in Kaduna that it was particularly saddened by the fact that Onoja, Pam and Ebute, who  are  prominent  sons of the North  could be a part of  the team that openly endorsed Jonathan for the 2015 race.

The ACF Chairman, Alhaji Aliko Mohammed,  said,  “They went and told the whole world that the North is now divided. It is very sad that the Presidency has employed divide and rule tactics against the North.

“It is very glaring  because we noticed with dismay that some members of  this organisation have gone to the President and told  him that he must contest the 2015 election.

“We are really surprised that some members that went there are also members of  the ACF. I am speaking particularly of two gentlemen; the two gentlemen I am referring to, one is in the  ACF and the other is  in the Northern Elders’ Forum.

“In the ACF is Gen. Onoja; he was actually part of the group that went to see the President. Also, one of the elders, Senator   Pam, was there.

“We were surprised that they  went  to see the President, particularly  Onoja that is here with us in ACF.”

The forum said  that  it was also painful that Onoja, who had gone  with  its leaders “to every meeting” could “turn round to say the President must contest in 2015.”

 The  ACF also  said   the North would want all elections  in  2015 to hold on the same day since it  would be cheaper.

It said, “We have noticed really that for free and fair elections in 2015. We think that there should be only one election day. In Kenya, there was one day election for seven elections. We  can’t see any reason why Nigeria will not do that.

“It is the candid view of the ACF that certain aspects of the  politics for 2015 are counterproductive. We will  put pressure  on the Independent National Electoral Commission  to really think about our view and hold elections on the same day.”

On  the controversy that surrounded the  Nigeria  Governors’ Forum election, the   forum said it was making efforts to reconcile all political camps in the region, including the Northern governors, for the attainment of the common vision and goals  needed  to negotiate from the position of strength and secure a favourable  camp in politics.”


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