The Forum of Christian and Muslim Political Leaders from the 19 Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Friday adopted Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, as the consensus candidate for the 2023 general elections.
The forum has therefore begun a massive mobilisation of Northerners against the All Progressives Congress (APC) same faith ticket and urged Northerners to vote for the PDP candidate for unity and progress of the country.
The decision was taken at the end of a meeting of the leaders and delegates from the North held at the Atiku Abubakar Hall of Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.
Those at the meeting were religious leaders, women, and youth organizations.
A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, is one of the group’s promoters.
The former speaker and the ex-Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, have spearheaded the campaign against the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the APC.
The Forum of Northern Christian and Muslim Leaders had on October 8 set up the committee to recommend a pan-Nigerian platform to adopt in the 2023 presidential election.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and jointly signed by a former Deputy Governor of Sokoto State, Mukhari Shagari, and ex-Minister of Water Resources, Prof. D. D. Sheni, the forum adopted the report of IRS Technical Committee led by a former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Umara Kumalia and Barr. Nunge Mele (SAN).
The communiqué read: “Forum, therefore, adopted the PDP and the Atiku/Okowa presidential ticket as the right ticket to support in the 2023 presidential election as it addresses all the concerns of inclusiveness, fairness and national cohesion.
”The Forum further recommended for support for 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 Committee has completed its assignment and presented its report to the Forum and the report was accordingly adopted. That the four leading political parties that were considered by the Technical Committee for the purpose of this assignment are the All Progressives Congress (APC); the New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP); the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
“The Forum observed that the NNPP and the Labour Party have presidential tickets that are inclusive, representing religious diversity as a country populated by a dominant population of Muslims and Christians.
“The Forum, however, noted that the NNPP and LP have not yet unveiled their Strategic Policy Plan for Nigerians to interrogate in less than 3 months before the general elections.
“And so, it is safe to say that no one except the two parties knows the direction in which they intend to take the country. Nigerians cannot go into an election blindfolded, especially in view of the myriad of problems bedeviling the nation.
“The NNPP and LP do not have the required structures to win the presidential election and 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 All progressives Congress (APC) as we all know has 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.”
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