2019: Drama In The North as Arewa Youths and Northern Elders Fight Over Buhari and Atiku

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) are in a serious battle with Northern Elders Forum (NEF), as the former seemingly back President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid while the latter oppose it. 

The apex socio-cultural organisation of Northern Nigeria , the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) , has distanced itself from the Northern Elders Forum ’s (NEF) opposition to President Muhammadu Buhari ’ s re-election, saying that NEF cannot choose for the region who to support in 2019.

The secretary – general of the ACF , Anthony Sani, yesterday asserted that Prof Ango Abdullahi of the Northern Elders Forum cannot speak on behalf of the northern region against the re- election of President Buhari in 2019.

Sani was obviously reacting to statements credited to Prof Ango Abdullahi , the convener of NEF, that President Buhari’s second term ambition would not receive the support of northerners due to his administration’s failure to fulfil his campaign promises.

LEADERSHIP recalls that Abdullahi had at the weekend said that the 2019 presidential election would be won and lost based on the capacity, performance and competence of the candidates, and not on sentiment as was the case in 2015.

Speaking with journalists in his Arewa Farms in Zaria, yesterday, Prof Abdullahi said power brokers in the North would not support President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in the 2019 general election because he had woefully failed to address the abject poverty and underdevelopment in the region.

He said another four years of Buhari administration would be catastrophic with the current government’s unprecedented incompetence and enthronement of mediocrity in dealing with the horrendous spate of killings and general insecurity across the country.

But when contacted by our Kaduna correspondent over NEF’s opposition to President Muhammadu Buhari’s re- election, Sani remarked that even some members of the Northern Elders Forum do not share Abdullahi’s position.

Sani said : “ We have nothing to do with Northern Elders Forum because of factions. Which faction are we going to talk about?” “The Arewa Consultative Forum disassociated itself from the statement credited to the Northern Elders Forum when they passed a vote of no confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari and other northern leaders some months back. Even now kicking against the re- election of President Muhammadu Buhari and its position that the administration has failed, we still distance ourselves from their activities. It’ s Nigerians that will decide whether the president has failed or succeeded.

“We are not a partisan organisation; it (NEF’s position ) is not a consensus of our people, instead it is a partisan position. It is God that used the masses/citizens of the country in making Buhari a president and they (NEF members) are not in a position to decide for the citizens.

“What I can tell you is that we are not part of Northern Elders Forum’s position against the re- election of President Muhammadu Buhari. I read that even some members of the Northern Elders Forum distanced themselves from the position against Mr President.

“Not quite long , ACF dissociated itself from Northern Elders Forum’s communiqué for criticizing President Muhammadu Buhari and other Northern Nigerian leaders. In the communiqué, they passed vote of no confidence on Mr President and other Northern Nigerian leaders and we said we are not part of the communiqué.”

Insisting that the ACF was not in support of the position of some northern elders against the president’s re- election, Sani added that “ it’s Nigerians that will decide and they (Northern elders) are not speaking for the people of the North.”

Prof Abdullahi had declared that the forum held the aces in the politics of the North, adding that NEF’s position was guided by the desire to achieve the greater interest of the Nigerian nation and not just the interest of the region.

“The ideal presidential candidate for 2019 should be a patriot , a committed nationalist, a bridge-builder and unifier of all Nigerians. He must believe in, and must have demonstrated in practical terms, a strong commitment to the principles of our common humanity and the transformation of our diversity into sources of
strength, ” he had said