EXCERPT: The Joint Northern Committee, comprises of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Sir Ahmadu Bellow Foundation, Arewa Research and Development Project and Jamiyyar Matan Arewa
The Presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, has accused the Joint Northern Committee of being sponsored to endorse a particular Presidential candidate.
The Joint Northern Committee, comprising of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation (ABF), Arewa Research and Development Project and Jamiyyar Matan Arewa has organised an interactive session with some Presidential candidates.
The programme which started on Saturday was attended by Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Abiola of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Prince Adewale Adeboye of the Social Democratic Party (SDP)
Bola Tinubu, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and the NNPP candidate, are expected to be in Kaduna on Monday for the event.
However in a letter addressed to organisers, the NNPP said, besides the fact that the date given was not convenient, it had credible information that some people had been compromised.
The letter dated October 14, 2022 and signed by Abdulmumini Kofa, spokesman of the NNPP Presidential Campaign said, its technical team was still putting final touches on its blueprint, “as such we will be unable to present to you the final policy proposals that will guide our candidate’s presidency when, eventually, he is elected the President of Nigeria.”
It promised to ensure that the blueprint is presented to the public by the candidate and shall make copies available to the group.
The letter said, “Added to the above, we have credible information in our possession that shows that some people have been compromised and these people have concluded plans to turn the event into an endorsement platform for a particular candidate.
“We believe that it is very wrong for any group to clandestinely plan to endorse any candidate in the name of the North, especially when we have more than one candidate from our region…
“We are therefore advising you not to do anything that will ridicule the legacies of Sir Ahmadu Bello and other famous Northern Leaders like of Sir Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, Sir Kashim Ibrahim, and JS Tarka etc. by attempting to endorse an unpopular candidate at the expense of a more competent, more experienced and more credible one.
“We note that the earlier date was even postponed and a new date was fixed to
coincide with the date of the rally of one of the presidential candidate in Kaduna.
“This further gives credence to the information in our possession that the event is being financed by that candidate…
“In the circumstance, and based on the above observations, our candidate will be unable to honour your invitation.
“Finally, we wish to advise the organisers of this interaction to avoid endorsing any candidate in the name of the North as such an action will only result in further polarizing than uniting the North.”
However, reacting, the Secretary General of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Murtala Aliyu, said the allegations are baseless and challenged anybody to produce evidence.
Aliyu who is the chairman of the steering committee of the programme,
said the interactive session was not aimed at endorsing any candidate.
“We received their letter. First of all he said he is not participating in the dialogue because it coincided with other engagements.
“We are not calling them to endorse any candidate.
“I think that accusations like this are abid weighty. I am the chairman of the steering committee of the whole project.
“I have not seen any candidate one on one. I have not received any donations from any candidate one on one or collectively or formally or informally.
“I was taken aback when I saw it.
The six groups (that made up the Joint Arewa Committee) pulled resources togther to organise the programme.
“So if anybody has given anything, I am not aware of it and it has not come to my notice.
“Even if a candidate gives something, it will not influence anything. Our groups are multi partisan, some people are in LP, some are in PDP, APC, NNPP, and so on. So you can’t endorse any candidate”, he said.
By John Shiklam in Kaduna