BusinessDay

2023: Dogara leads northern group to adopt Atiku as consensus candidate

One week after the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation ( SGF) Babachir Lawal announced support for the Obi/ Datti Presidential ambition, another northern group, on Friday, adopted Atiku Abubakar as “consensus candidate”.

The Forum which included All Progressive Congress ( APC), chieftains like Yakubu Dogara, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, had earlier refused to follow Babachir Lawal in adopting Peter Obi and Datti Ahmed.

They also rejected the candidates of the New Nigeria Peoples Party ( NNPP) and Labour Party (LP), explaining that they “do not have the required structures to win the presidential election.

“ Even if they win, they cannot be able to smoothly run the government as they will not have the required parliamentary majority to successfully pilot the affairs of government,” the group said.

The northern group under the aegis of “Forum of Christian and Muslim Political Leaders, representing the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)” announced in Abuja on Friday, that it has adopted the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar as its consensus candidate for the 2023 election.

In a communique signed on Friday by Doknan Sheni and former Minister of Water Resources, Mukhtar Shagari, the group said its decision is based on amongst other things, including PDP presidential ticket being “representative of our religious diversity as a people”

The group also noted “ that the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar is the only candidate among the candidates of the four leading political parties that has the knowledge and experience of managing the country at the presidential level. This gives him the advantage to set the ball rolling from day one.

They also noted that the PDP presidential candidate has a track record of working harmoniously with all classes of people across religious and ethnic divides.

The group stated further that the “ PDP presidential candidate is a well-known talent hunter who has demonstrated capacity to hunt highly experienced talents across different sectors and bring them into government.

“This country needs highly talented people at this critical time to pull the country out of the doldrums and bring it back to the path of stability, security and prosperity.

“The Forum therefore adopts the PDP and the Atiku/Okowa Presidential ticket as the right ticket to support in the 2023 presidential elections, as it addresses all the concerns of inclusiveness, fairness and national cohesion.

“The Forum recommends for support the Atiku Abubakar/Ifeanyi Okowa presidential ticket to all well-meaning Nigerians across the ethnic, sectional and religious diversities, in order to foster unity, peace, development and progress,” the communique stated.

The group which is made up of members of the All Progressive Congress ( APC) revealed that they rejected Bola Tinubu, the party’s Presidential candidate, because the party “fielded the same faith (Muslim-Muslim) ticket which excludes a large demography of Christians who do not feel represented by the ticket.

“The APC presidential ticket does not promote inclusiveness, unity, religious harmony and cohesion. A large population of Muslims have also expressed reservations to this ticket and have called for fairness and inclusivity.”

“Consequently, this ticket is outrightly rejected by the Forum and the Forum hereby calls on all lovers of democracy, peaceful coexistence, unity and religious harmony to reject the ticket in its entirety.”