Communique of the meeting of Northern Leaders Consultative Forum held at Yar’adua Center, Abuja, dated 2nd December, 2022
The Northern Leaders Consultative Forum, a body comprised of Muslim and Christian leaders across the 19 Northern States and FCT, was set up on the 8th October, 2022 with the mandate to consult among all strata of people in Northern Nigeria with a view to identifying the political party to support for the 2023 presidential elections. This was necessitated by the rejection of the same faith Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC.
The Forum set up a Technical Criteria Committee with the mandate to develop a framework and criteria for the assessment of the leading political parties and their presidential candidates and recommend the ticket that represents our religious, ethnic and geographical diversities, capable of bringing about peace, unity, cohesion and inclusiveness.
The Committee has completed its assignment and presented its report to the Forum. The Forum has accordingly adopted the report and hereby issues the following communique:
That the four leading political parties that were considered by the Technical Committee for the purpose of this assignment are:
the All Progressives Congress (APC)
the New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP)
the Labour Party (LP) and,
the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
I. The NNPP and the Labour Party
That the presidential tickets of the NNPP and LP are inclusive, representing our religious diversity as a country populated by a dominant population of Muslims and Christians.
It is however noted that the NNPP and LP have not yet unveiled their Strategic Policy Plan for Nigerians to interrogate. This is less than 3 months to the general elections. And 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 blind folded, especially in view of the myriad of problems bedeviling the nation.
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 its 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 INEC’s final list of candidates for the 2023 elections, the NNPP could not field in all the seats for the office of Governor and House of Representatives while LP could not field in all the candidates at the levels of Governor, 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 cannot smoothly run the government as they will not have the required parliamentary majority to successfully pilot the affairs of government.
II. The All Progressives Congress (APC)
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 by the ticket. 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.
Consequently, this ticket is outrightly rejected by the Forum and the Forum hereby calls on all lovers of democracy, peaceful coexistence, unity and religious harmony to reject the ticket in its entirety.
III. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)
That 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.
That the PDP presidential candidate has a track record of working harmoniously with all classes of people across religious and ethnic divides.
That the PDP presidential candidate is a well-known talent hunter who has demonstrated capacity to hunt highly experienced talents across different sectors and bring them into government. This country needs highly talented people at this critical time to pull the country out of the doldrums and bring it back to the path of stability, security and prosperity.
The Forum therefore adopts the PDP and the Atiku/Okowa Presidential ticket as the right ticket to support in the 2023 presidential elections, as it addresses all the concerns of inclusiveness, fairness and national cohesion.
The Forum recommends for support the Atiku Abubakar/Ifeanyi okowa presidential ticket to all well-meaning Nigerians across the ethnic, sectional and religious diversities, in order to foster unity, peace, development and progress.
Professor Doknan DD Sheni, OON H.E. Mukhtari Shehu Shagari, CFR