Ahead of the 2023 General Elections, the Northern Elders Forum has said the region will support only a Presidential candidate who has the capacity to address the nation’s socio-economic and security problems irrespective of where the person comes from.
The elders say they will no longer vote for a candidate based on sentiments as they did for President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, describing the incumbent as a disappointment to not only the North but the entire country.
Spokesman of the Forum, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, who made the position known during a meeting of northern leaders of thought in Kaduna state on Saturday, said the North was deceived into voting in Buhari, with the hope that he will transform the country.
He, however, lamented that the North and the entire country are worse than where they were before President Buhari assumed office, as kidnapping, banditry, and high rate of poverty have become the order of the day.
While stating that the north will no longer be taken for a ride, Baba-Ahmed said both the South and North have equal rights to seek for the exalted office of the President in 2023.
He equally stressed that the North will support only a competent Presidential candidate who understands the roots and solutions to the numerous challenges confronting the country, and not a person who wants power just to fulfil a personal ambition.
The Northern Elders also called on the Federal Government to postpone the planned 2022 national population census in view that the large numbers of displaced persons across the country and the likelihood of the tension and controversy the exercise could generate before the 2023 General election.
The forum advocated key reforms in the constitution and the electoral process that should be implemented to improve the quality of elections, and further urged President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act, as this will improve the quality of elections, starting from 2023.