The Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), has thrown its weight behind any competent presidential candidate in 2023 from any ethnic group in the country.
According to the organisation, it would support any way that will lead to improved security rather than the ongoing debate about labelling bandits as terrorists, describing it as a waste of energy,
Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the spokesman of the forum in a statement on Wednesday after a meeting convened by its leader, Prof. Ango Abdullahi explained that the meeting noted that scrapping of the State Independent National Electoral Commissions should be included in the ongoing constitutional amendment.
The statement observed, “The Forum salutes all Nigerians who toiled to restore a level playing field to our democratic system. It is now left to politicians and other leaders to conduct the type of politics that builds into it real equity, fairness, competence and justice, through inclusive campaigns and responsible approach towards the 2023 elections.
“The people of the North want to work with other Nigerians to produce a competent and committed Nigerian leadership that will restore confidence in our country’s capacity to survive and rebuild itself for the next generations.”
The forum opined that the Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress dominated the political landscape, expressing the view that Nigerians would benefit from additional options.
It explained that the NEF looks forward to the emergence and consolidation of other parties in the political environment, saying that the continued existence of State Electoral Commissions which conduct elections into local government councils is damaging the democratic process.
The NEF advised that the on-going constitutional amendments should include the scrapping of these commissions and the assumption of their duties by INEC.
The forum enjoined Nigerians, particularly northerners, to register and prepare to vote for new and more competent leaders in the 2023 elections.
The Forum lamented the worsening security situation in the country, saying that Boko Haram insurgency continues to be a major threat in the North-East, while kidnapping and large scale banditry in many other parts of the North are taking over lives of large portions of the population.
It noted that IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) threatens to eradicate the influence of legitimate authority in the South-East, adding that politicians and influential people are worsening the nation’s fault lines by the manner they seek political advantages through threats to the unity and peaceful co-existence of the country.
The forum observed that poverty and poor governance are fueling widespread alienation from mainstream social existence.
The Forum joined the nation in its outrage over the fact that Maiduguri, Borno State capital has been without power from the national grid for 10 months, and is alarmed by signs that its population could be forced to resign to living with this additional assault on their lives and livelihood, saying that the situation must be reversed at all cost.
It advised that the planned closure of Internally Displaced Persons’ camps should be carefully considered so that it does not place more victims in avoidable peril.
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