Recently, the rate number of groups endorsing the two major contestants in the fast-approaching presidential election seems to have increased in number in the last couple of days. Over the weekend, what seems like a consortium of elders met in Abuja and announced that they are all endorsing Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar to be Nigeria’s next president.
The group which consists of members from powerful groups such as Afenifere, PADEF, Northern Elders Forum, and the Middle Belt Elders Forum all chose to take side with the PDP candidate ahead of the incumbent president.
However, in reacting to the news, President Buhari, through his media aid, Femi Adesina state that no matter what who endorse Atiku, even if it were witches, the APC will emerge victorious come election day.
“NEF, PANDEF, Afenifere, others endorse Atiku. Let witches and wizards also endorse, if they like. The harder they come, the harder they fall. No beating the Nigerian people,” Adesina said on his Twitter page.
Still, on the matter of election and endorsements, it would appear that former Vice President Atiku will not be getting the full complement of members of one of the groups that have claimed to support him.
Recently, the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) declared support for the presidential ambition of Atiku, however, that seems not to have gone down well with many of the group’s members after it was revealed that the decision to support Atiku was the unilateral idea of a few members of the group and don’t have the support of the majority.
“The leader can say anything, but it should be on record that PANDEF has not met to take any of such decision. As far as I am concerned, we have not met as a body and besides, the constitution of PANDEF bans the forum from being partisan.
“Article 1 of PANDEF constitution states that we must not be partisan, so I do not know how and where that endorsement is coming from. That does not mean that PANDEF members who are in Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, cannot do whatever they want.
“They can, but there was no time that the entire body of PANDEF sat down, argued for or against and came to such a resolution,” PANDEF Publicity Secretary, Chief Sara-Igbe Anabs, said.
However, in a swift reaction, another faction of the group defends its decision to support Atiku stating that publicity secretary should not be taken seriously.
“Sara-Igbe has demonstrated gross perfidy to the core issues PANDEF stands for. It is baffling that Sara-Igbe has allowed his political persuasions to becloud his sense of reasoning and judgment. It is on record that PANDEF has always emphasised that it will give its support to only political parties and candidates that affirm support for the restructuring of the Nigerian State, at all PANDEF’s fora.
“This is the consensus of the people of the Niger Delta that we represent. This position was also eloquently restated and an overwhelming mandate given to PANDEF to canvass at the South-South mega rally on restructuring, held March 25, 2018, at Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
“Consequent upon the decision of the Yenagoa mega rally, PANDEF embarked on series of engagement within and outside the region, towards attaining national cohesion and understanding on the issue of restructuring, as demonstrated in the national endorsement of Atiku Abubakar, by the Nigerian leaders and Elders.
“We will advise Anabs Sara-Igbe to rather be focused on his new-found United Niger Delta for Buhari, rather than attempting to fish in waters that are clearly beyond his reach,” PANDEF Secretary, Dr Alfred Mulade, said in a statement.
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