The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) may have covertly expressed support for power shift in the 2023 general elections, perhaps, in search of a competent leader in the country. The Forum, at a meeting in Kaduna on Saturday, de-emphasised the influence of region, religion or ethnic cleavage on voting behaviour in the north, declaring that, this time, the north will only support a competent presidential candidate who has the capacity to tackle the social, economic and security challenges in Nigeria not minding the origin of the candidate.
The northern elders, lamenting over the crises in the country, declared that they will no longer encourage people “vote for a candidate based on sentiments as they did for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.” They chided President Buhari for being a disappointment not only to the north but the entire country.
The spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, at a meeting of northern leaders of thought in Kaduna, Kaduna State on Saturday, decried that the northerners were misled into voting Buhari in anticipation that he will change Nigeria.
Hakeem Baba-Ahmed regretting the Nigerian situation, declared that the North and the entire country are worse than where they were before President Buhari assumed office, noting that kidnapping, terrorism, banditry, and high rate of poverty have become the order of the day.
Baba-Ahmed, however, stated that both the South and North have equal rights to contest for the President in the 2023 general elections.
Baba-Ahmed reiterated that “the North would support only a competent presidential candidate who understands the roots and solutions to the numerous challenges confronting the country, and not a person who wants power just to fulfill a personal ambition.”
The Northern Elders Forum rejected the proposed 2022 national population census, urging the federal government to postpone the census because of the large numbers of displaced persons across the country and the probable tension and controversy the census may generate before the 2023 general elections.
The NEF, making a strong case for significant electoral and constitutional reforms to improve the quality of elections, enjoined President Buhari to assent to the amendments to the Electoral Act, for transparent, fair, and free elections in 2023, and thereafter.