- Presidential candidates like Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi, and Atiku Abubakar will be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, according to northern elders
- The elders disclosed that the north will only vote for the best candidate that will work for the country
- The northern elders claimed they made mistake in 2015 when they charged the people to cede their bloc votes to President Muhammadu Buhari
In what will be seen as a big blow to President Muhammadu Buhari's legacy, elders from his region - The Northern Elders Forum - said that they regret not vetting him very well in 2015 when northerners were encouraged to vote massively for him.
According to the elders, the forum will subject candidates of various political parties seeking the votes of the north to a rigorous interrogation exercise until they are convinced about who has the capacity to fix the country.
This clarification was made by NEF spokesman, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Punch Newspaper reports.
Vanguard Newspaper added that Baba-Ahmed stated that the northern elders made a terrible mistake in 2015 when they charged the people to cede their bloc votes to President Muhammadu Buhari without requesting his blueprint.
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“We will subject all candidates including Atiku, Tinubu, Obi through a rigorous process and they had better be willing because, believe me, we carry the responsibility on our shoulders to advise people in the north where to go. I am not saying this to impress anybody. We will exercise that responsibility seriously.
“What we promise not to do this time around was not to repeat what we did in 2015 and say ‘Vote for only Sai Baba” where we escort him to the villa but failed to sit him down and ask what he planned to do. It would no longer be about fixing the economy, security and the fight against Boko Haram, They must be specific.
“Buhari got away with it in 2015 and in 2019, we campaigned against him, saying this time he has failed and won’t be given another chance. Today, look at where the country is. We are not going to make that mistake again.”
The type of president Nigeria needs
When asked if the candidate's region will be considered one of their criteria, the NEF image-maker disclosed that they are not putting a ceiling on any candidate.
Going further, he outlined the type of president the country needed.
“But we need to know the presidential candidate’s mental health, physical, intellect capacity and his willingness to tap into some of the brightest brains available and his sensitivity to a number of key issues that are vital to our survival as a country."
Northern elders call for immediate arrest of critic of Peter Obi
Meanwhile, a Katsina-based activist, Shehu Mahdi, has been criticised by some northern elders over his statement on Peter Obi. Mahdi was seen in a video advising Christians in the north against voting for Peter Obi, a presidential candidate from the south who is a Christian.
According to the activist, a vote for the Labour Party presidential candidate would amount to a vote for Biafra, and a secessionist.
However, in reaction, the Coalition of Northern Elders For Peace and National Unity described the disposition of Mahdi as “distasteful, provocative, and capable of inciting ethnoreligious tension”.