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North denies plans to endorse a particular Presidential candidate – Arewa Joint Committee

…Says, it’s searching for accountable, competent best leader.

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

Arewa Joint Committee, organiser of the just-concluded interactive sessions with 2023 presidential candidates in Kaduna, says the session has raised the bar in their search for leadership that respects accountability and competence.

The committee further stated that, the interactive sessions were not planned with the goal of endorsing a particular candidate, as speculated, but parts of the process and plans to generate commitment towards addressing challenges of north by the candidates, covering substantial parts of the campaign period.

Chairman of the Steering Committee, Mal. Murtala Aliyu, who stated this, while briefing the media Tuesday, explained that the sessions, the first of its type in the history of Nigeria, have been a tremendous success.

He also said that the sessions have demonstrated the strong bonds of unity of the people of the North, represented by the collaborating groups, and their unquestioning commitment to the search for the best quality of leadership out of the many candidates, who want their support.

“They are part of a longer process that plans to generate commitment to address the challenges of the North by candidates, and which covers a substantial part of the
campaigning period.

“We plan to extract and publish these commitments, so that Nigerians may measure and evaluate candidates against them. Our goal is to afford citizens an opportunity to match candidates against their commitments to matters that are central to the interests of the North.

“Until the elections in February, 2023, the North will be challenged to raise its vigilance over all electoral activities. It is vital that we prioritize evidence of competence, integrity, quality of preparation and commitment to address the challenges of the North among candidates. 

“We will continue to invite attention of the government to the security of the electoral process and, in particular, the vulnerability of many parts of the North to organized crimes, which may pose a serious threat to their rights to participate in electing the next set of leaders in 2023.

“The need to show restraint and discipline as politicians canvass for our elections has never been more pressing. The entire nation must be open to all contestants
and free from violence. 

“The exploitation of ethnic and religious fault lines is extremely dangerous, and the nation is already showing signs of stress, owing to this exploitation,” he said.

“Let me conclude by thanking the Nigerian media for its role in taking these interactions to the homes of Nigerians. We hope we can rely on the Nigerian media to help us reach Nigerians, as we continue with activities related to these interactions,” Mal. Murtala Aliyu noted.

He said they hosted five of the six presidential candidates, who had accepted to participate in the historic interactions, between Saturday 15th and Monday 17th, October, 2022. 

The chairman noted that, one candidate (Musa Kwankasso) of the New Nigerian People’s Party, NNPP, choose not to participate.

“We are grateful to the candidates, who honoured our invitation and who showed respect to public opinion and the Nigerian voters by submitting themselves to the
most intimate scrutiny by Northern elders and other groups, the media and the public,” he stated.

Accordingly, he said it afforded Nigerians a rare opportunity to see and hear candidates speak about their plans and vision, and helped to focus attention on the peculiar and shared problems and challenges of the North and scrutinize the levels of understanding and sympathy for them among the candidates.

The Arewa Joint Committee comprised of ACF, Arewa House, Northern Elders Forum and three others.

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