2023: We did not endorse any presidential candidate – Northern Leaders

The Arewa Joint Committee on Interaction with the 2023 Presidential Candidates on Tuesday said that the interaction was not meant to endorse any candidate for the election.

Addressing a press conference after the engagement with five Presidential Candidates, Chairman of the committee and Secretary General of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) Murtala Aliyu said they are grateful to the candidates who honoured the invitation and who showed “respect to public opinion and the Nigerian voter by submitting themselves to the most intimate scrutiny by Northern elders and other groups, the media and the public.”

He said going forward, the region will monitor the situation as the campaign intensifies, adding that they will take notice of evidence of competence and integrity.

The ACF Secretary also spoke against the exploitation of fault-lines of ethnic and religious divisions, adding that the situation is dangerous for the polity.

Answering questions from journalists, the Arewa leader also disclosed that it is only the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar that can explain the controversy over the Igbo and Yoruba comment at the Arewa House on Saturday.

He said: “These interactions, the first of its type in the history of our country, have been a tremendous success. First, they demonstrated the strong bonds of unity of the people of the North, represented by the collaborating groups, and our unquestioning commitment to the search for the best quality of leadership out of the many candidates who want our support.

“Second, they showed a commendable level of respect for the democratic process by the candidates who submitted to the process.

“Third, they afforded Nigerians a rare opportunity to see and hear candidates speak about their plans and vision.

“Four, they 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.

“Finally, they raised the bar in our search for leadership that respects accountability and competence.”




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