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AREWA CONSULTATIVE FORUM: 2023 polls of great concern to us

…warns politicians against thuggery, rigging …to meet presidential candidates
…says insecurity Nigeria’s biggest tragedy, tasks FG on flooding, others

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has warned politicians against rigging and the use of thugs during the 2023 general election. The group also revealed its plans to meet with the presidential candidates “to know their policies towards uniting and developing the entire country”.

Speaking at the ACF National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Kaduna yesterday, the Chairman of the apex northern sociopolitical group, Chief Audu Ogbeh said they decided to sound the warning because the election is of “great concern to us”, adding that they are hoping and praying for the election of “leaders of our choice who will be the best materials to govern Nigeria.” In a communiqué after the meeting, the group admitted that there is an improvement in tackling the security challenges facing the country, but regretted that the steps being taken by the government were not fast enough.

The forum also told the Federal Government to find an immediate solution to the flooding ravaging many parts of the North and across the country. The ACF said: “We want to tell Nigerians that the 2023 election is of great concern to us. The ACF will not accept rigging and thuggery so that the choice of God and Nigerians’ will prevail. “We call on INEC and security agencies to ensure law and order during the election. “Another issue of great concern to us is insecurity. Insecurity is the biggest tragedy that has befallen the country in the last few years. “However, the security agencies have made tremendous efforts in curtailing the excesses of terrorists in the last six months.

“We look forward to their total elimination. But we regret that the steps taken by the government were not fast enough. “Flooding has done a great disaster to agriculture and the people. So we call on the Federal Government to take steps to curtail flooding.” Meanwhile, Secretary General Murtala Aliyu, who read the communiqué, said: “The ACF advises politicians to play politics by the rule.

They must guard their utterances and everything possible to avoid heating up the polity. Campaigns should be issuebased. It has been observed that there is already voter apathy. Sectarian and divisive issues must be avoided at all cost in order to further discourage rational voters from exercising their civic rights.” He added: “Nigeria must be safe and stable for any meaningful progress to be achieved and for the winner, whoever he may be to give leadership. It is in this regard that the ACF together with other northern groups arrange to meet with various presidential candidates to know their policies towards uniting and developing the entire country.”

The ACF commended the efforts of the state governments in the fight to have peace in the country It said: “However, incidents of attacks on villages and highways and kidnappings in states of the North West/North East and parts of North Central are still happening which are worrisome. “We call on the security agencies to revisit their strategy to root out these insurgents and terrorists to ensure and restore permanent peace to the land.”

It added: “The flooding covering a substantial part of the North, especially the flood plains of Jigawa, Kogi and Niger states and to some lesser extent other states of North and the country at large, are disturbing. Lives have been lost while the survivors have lost their habitats, other belongings and in most cases their farm produces to the floods.” The group also said they are saddened by the protracted dispute between the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government. It advised the government to shift ground while asking the ASUU: “To show sympathy for the future of the students and consider offers made by the government and respect the rule of law”.




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