2023: Why we settled for Atiku – Christian/Muslim Northern Politicians

December 3, 2022

4.2 min readCategories: News

A group of politicians who called themselves “Forum of Christian and Muslim Political Leaders from the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)” last night adopted the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar as their consensus candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

They took the decision during a meeting at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre in Abuja.

There are dozens of Muslim and Christian groups in northern Nigeria, even as many of them have remained non-partisan, while others are yet to align with any political party or politician.

Members that attended yesterday’s meeting said they adopted the report of a technical committee led by a former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Umara Kumalia and Nunge Mele, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).

The group was initially led by a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawan.

Lawan recently adopted the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi and was immediately rebuffed by Dogara and others.

Some of those at yesterday’s meeting included former governors of Adamawa and Kwara states, Boni Haruna and Abdulfatah Ahmed, former Minister of Sports, Damishi Sango, Senator Idris Ahmed Umar, Yomi Awoniyi, Simon Achuba, Baba Shehu Agaie, Air Marshall Monday Morgan (Rtd), General Ishaya Bauka (rtd), Mohammed Sani Sidi, John B. Bawa, Dr. Iliya Stephen Msheliza, Sarah Allabeh-nanpon, Shina Ibiyemi, Dr. Auwalu Anwar, Dr. Yakubu Tor-Agbidye, Peter Bite, Abdul Msheliza, Dauda Bundot, Alhaji Abdul Abubakar, Professor Salamatu Machunga, and Reverend Joseph Hayab, among others.

The group had on October 8 set up the Kumalia committee to recommend what they called “a pan-Nigerian platform to adopt in the 2023 presidential election.”

Their resolution was contained in a communiqué released yesterday, jointly signed by a former deputy governor of Sokoto State and former Minister of Water Resources, Mukhtari Shagari and Professor D. D. Sheni.

In the communiqué, members of the group said their decision to settle on Atiku was necessitated by the rejection of the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

They said the committee took time and studied four political parties: APC, New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP), Labour Party (LP) and the PDP.

They said although the presidential tickets of the NNPP and LP were inclusive, representing religious diversity as a country populated by a dominant population of Muslims and Christians, the two parties were yet to unveil what they called “their strategic policy plan for Nigerians to interrogate.”

“This is less than three months to the general elections, 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 blindfolded, especially in view of the myriad of problems bedevilling the country.

“The NNPP and LP do not have all-round grassroots structures required of a political party seeking the highest office in the country. They do not have reasonable presence of their 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 the Independent National Electoral Commission’s final list of candidates for the 2023 elections, the NNPP could not field in all the seats for the office of governors and House of Representatives, while the LP could not field in all the candidates at the levels of governorship, 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 would not be able to smoothly run the government as they would not have the required parliamentary majority to successfully pilot the affairs of government,” it said.

Daily Trust Saturday reports that both Kwankwaso and Obi have consistently said they have the spread and what it takes to win the presidency.

On the ruling party, the forum said, “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. 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,” the communiqué noted.

On why they opted for Atiku, the forum said, “The PDP presidential ticket is representative of our 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 PDP presidential candidate has a track record of working harmoniously with all classes of people across religious and ethnic divides.”

Credit: Daily Trust

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