Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF has said it will only listen to president candidates after they have gone through the primaries of their parties not minding whether they are from the north or the south.
A communique after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Kaduna on Wednesday also warned members not to endorse any candidate as the forum is not a political party.
The communique signed by Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Chairman of the Forum, also said the North is worried that commercial banks promoted by northerners lost their licenses during the banking consolidation policies of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Charles Soludu and called on businessmen from the area to establish banks.
ACF also commended the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai for his development strides and called on other governors to emulate him.
The communique said in part: “As the country moves towards 2023. We of the ACF need to remind our members and all that we are not a political party. We do not have a candidate and will not endorse one in the 2023 election North or South. When the political parties who have the exclusive permission of the Constitution to sponsor candidates choose a presidential candidate each, we shall engage the candidates and find out what programme they have for the north.
“We have always complained of the security situation in the north. We are still worried about this. The security conditions in the north are far from satisfactory. We urge the federal and state government to embark on measures that will improve the situation.”
Part of the communique also said: “After extensive deliberations on the murder of Hanifa Abubakar, the five-year-old girl in Kano, the meeting resolved to commend the Governor of Kano state Dr Adulahi Danguje for his prompt action in arresting the situation.”
However, addressing newsmen and members of the forum before at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, ACF Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh advised members that their answer to such a question should always be that the Forum is not a political party to endorse candidates.
Ogbeh said: “Our plans to have meetings with Afenifere, Ohanaeze, South South Peoples Congress is still on course because there is a need to put a stop to abusive words against one region or the other.
“We should desist from endorsing any candidate for the 2023 presidency. If anybody asks you about the endorsement, tell such a person that we are not a political party.
“Our plans to have meetings with our counterparts: South-South Peoples Congress, Afenifere and Ohanaeze are still in progress. Once we are done with the plans we will let you know. We need to make peace. Abusive words on social media will not help us. We don’t want chaos in this country,” he said.