A splinter group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the North led by the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has adopted the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for the 2023 general elections.
The group under the platform of the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum comprising Christians and Muslims, adopted the PDP’s candidate, through a voice vote, after the report of its technical committee was presented to its members at a public forum in Abuja yesterday.
The report signed by the Chairman of the Northern Leaders Technical Criteria Committee, Hon. Mohammed Kumaila and Secretary, Nunghe Kele, SAN, was presented by former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba.
“After a careful evaluation of all the issues highlighted above, we hereby recommend for the adoption of the PDP, to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria, for the 2023 presidential election.
According to Achuba, the group’s decision to adopt Atiku as its presidential candidate was not without getting the necessary assurance from the party to run an all-inclusive government, details of which he said shall be discussed with the leadership of the party in the nearest future.
The Northern Leaders Inter-Faith Consultative Dialogue had on October 8 in Abuja, set up a sub-committee mandated to draw up a criteria to serve as a guide to the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum, in its quest to adopt and support one of the leading political parties in the 2023 presidential elections.
“After careful consultations, research and brain-storming, the subcommittee came up with the following analysis of the criteria used to arrive at and recommended a Pan-Nigeria platform for the main committee’s consideration, endorsement and adoption.
“Amongst the criteria used in selecting their choice of endorsement include factors such as presidential experience; requisite track record in public service, business and education; evidence of national penetration; religious and ethnic balance.
“Other criteria include; pan-Nigeria and tolerance, reasonable popularity, physical fitness for the rigours of state as well as the existing structures of the selected political parties and current candidates for 2023 according to INEC records.”
According to the report, Atiku came tops from a 15 points criteria used in assessing the four leading political parties; All Progressives Congress (APC), PDP, Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).
Atiku, who scored all 15 points criteria was followed by the candidate of the NNPP, Rabiu Kwankwaso, who scored 10 points and APC’s Senator Bola Tinubu and LP’s Peter Obi, who both tied on 9 points.
Chairman of the Forum, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dogara, who presided over the adoption said, said that the group decided to go for a pan Nigeria presidential candidate, following the adoption of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the APC against massive protest.
According to Dogara, “what will destroy Nigeria is not ethnicity but religion,” stressing that those passing statements relating to hate must be stopped before they destroy the country.
Dogara further maintained that the same faith ticket does not align with the vision of a united Nigeria because it does not promote a collective sense of belongingness.
The group noted that since the APC was adamant with its same faith ticket, the group had no other choice to jettison the APC and look for a party and candidate who present their desire and expectations for the 2023 general elections.
They therefore enjoined their members to go all out and campaign for the Atiku/Okowa presidential ticket.