POLITICS

2023 Presidency: Northern Elders list conditions for backing candidates

The North, it said, “should vote for the best leader,” while also encouraging key northern groups to  “engage groups from the South to improve understanding, lower tension and contribute to the creation of an atmosphere that allows all Nigerians to live in peace with one another.”

The communique read by the Chairman of the Communique Committee and former Vice Chancellor of Plateau State University, Prof. Doknan Decent Danjuma Shenni, reads: “We the Northern Leaders of Thought, whose names appeared below on this historic day of January 15th 2022 at Arewa House Kaduna to deliberate on the theme “Rebuilding the North” after extensive discussions and deliberations on the affairs that affect the North and Nigeria as a whole, we hereby resolve as follows:

“The current state of insecurity in the North is unprecedented and unacceptable. While commending the efforts of the nation’s defence and security forces in rolling back sundry threats that have weakened the Nigerian State and made life almost valueless, the meeting advises the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, Governors and Legislators to revisit and re-prioritise spending on security and addressing the scourge of poverty. We recommend the increase in recruitment of security personnel.

“The fundamental rights of all political parties to field candidates of their choices, and the right of voters to freely exercise choices over who leads them cannot be compromised. Northerners have equal rights to aspire to all offices but they must raise competence, evidence of personal integrity and commitments to the rule of law above all other considerations.

“Northerners should ignore provocative statements from groups in the South of Nigeria who appear to believe that Command Democracy in which threats and hate campaigns are their hallmark or defining elements will work in Nigeria. North should vote for the best Leader.

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“The Meeting notes the desperate condition of economic existence of most Northerners poses additional threats to security and the democratic process. It recommends that leaders should avoid pushing the population into deeper poverty and desperation with challenging economic policies and lack of empathy.

“Government at all levels should consider a form of structured welfare system to alleviate poverty in the populace.

“The Meeting advises the federal Government to postpone the planned 2022 National Census in view of the large numbers of displaced Nigerians and the proximity of the census to the 2023 elections.

“The Meeting urges the National and States Assemblies to prioritise constitutional amendments currently being processed. It further urges President Muhammadu Buhari to accent to the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, as this will improve the quality of elections, starting from 2023.

“The Meeting urges key Northern Groups to engage groups from the South to improve understanding, lower tensions and contribute to the creation of an atmosphere that allows all Nigerian to live in peace with each other.

As the debate over the region that should produce Nigeria’s next president rages, Northern Elders under the auspices of Northern Leaders of Thought (NLT) yesterday declared that Northerners as well as other Nigerians have equal rights to aspire to the presidency in next year’s elections.

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