- The Northern Elders Forum has opened up on who they would be supporting in the 2023 presidential election
- A spokesperson for the forum said the leaders in the northern region would throw their weights behind any credible candidate irrespective of the party
- Hakeen Ahmed said the region would not be cowed into supporting any candidate through threats of secession
Maiduguri - Leaders in the north have assured Nigerians that they would throw their weight behind a candidate from any region in the 2023 presidential election.
The leaders under the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said they would support a candidate from any region of the country provided the said candidate is credible.
The Sun reports that Hakeem Ahmed, the NEF spokesperson while speaking during the fourth Mallam Maitama Sule Leadership Lecture at the University of Maiduguri, Borno state, said the North would not accept a candidate on a regional basis.
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Ahmed had in his paper which was delivered on; “The President we want”, said that the leaders in the north would not support any party that deliberately tilts to a particular region of the country.
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A president for all Nigerians
He said the forum would not want a president that would emerge as a product of religious or ethnic advantages.
He warned that any candidate under a political party who tilts itself towards a particular region or ethnicity would also not get the forum's support.
"We don’t want a president that will be answerable to a portion of Nigeria. We won’t accept it."
Condemning moves by some individuals and groups to occupy Nigeria's number seat of office through violence, Ahmed said such a move is counter-productive for the unity, peace and development of the country.
He said Nigeria needs a leader who would not emerge from cohesion or secession threats but one that would work towards unifying citizens across borders, religion and ethnic lines.
“The next president should emerge from a credible election from any part of the country but he or she must be first and foremost a Nigerian president."
"The north would back any credible candidate from the region who understand the problem, possess the capacity to solve them (challenges) and can build bridges across the country.”
Reaction to agitations by various groups across Nigeria
In his reaction to various agitation by groups and individuals across the country, Ahmed said the leaders in the north are concerned about the violence in the southeast as they are worried over insecurity in the north.
However, Ahmed noted that the north would not be cowed into accepting any candidate through threats of secession ahead of the 2023 presidential elections.
“We don’t want organised violence or threat to produce the president of Nigeria. Secession is a bad option for the southeast. It is not in the best interest of this country or anybody.”
“Why should the federal government allow IPOB to strangulate five southeast states? If this administration does not have the capacity and willingness to ask this question, to deal with this problem, then the next administration should do so.”
Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that Ahmed had said that heaven will not fall should a northerner emerge president in 2023.
Ahmed said that currently, the north has the population to move for the presidency ahead of the 2023 general elections.
He also warned that the meekness showcased by northern leaders should not be mistaken for cowardice.
In the same vein, the ruling class in the north had been accused of an attempt to foist former President Goodluck Jonathan on Nigeria in 2023.
The ruling class were said to have been plotting to ensure that Jonathan replaces President Muhammadu Buhari in the forthcoming general elections.
According to sources, when elected, the leaders believe Jonathan would only serve for four years before handing power over to a northern after his tenure.