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Northern elders slam group over comment on 2023 elections

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Northern Elders Forum (NEF) on Wednesday berated the Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide over the statement credited to the group on the 2023 presidential election.

The group has warned in a statement that Nigeria would not be secured if an Igbo man does not win the 2023 presidential election.

In a statement issued by its Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, NEF described the statement as unfortunate.

Baba-Ahmed also blasted the Secretary of the group, Mazi Okechukwu Isuguzoro, who allegedly issued the statement for being irresponsible in his choice of language.

The Northern elders, however, noted that they would not be pushed into supporting any candidate in next year’s elections.

The statement read: “Northern Elders Forum is shocked at the statement released by Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Mazi Okechukwu Isuguzoro, in a language that is both irresponsible and damaging to its own interests. At a time when wise counsel dictates that Nigerians should be circumspect and disciplined in the manner they interact with the electoral process, the juvenile utterances of Mr Isiguzoro must be condemned in the harshest terms.

READ ALSO: 2023: Northern elders call for calm, level playing field as campaigns kick off

“Mazi Isiguzoro singles out the North as the bastion of ethnic and religious politics, while he unashamedly campaigns for Igbo presidency, complete with the threat that Nigeria will not be secure and united unless an Igbo President emerges.

“This damaging de-marketing of the prospects of an Igbo President will be hard to surpass. Nigerians and Northerners in particular, will not be impressed or blackmailed into making choices that are not informed by their own interests. On the contrary, they will notice that the apex Igbo organization is virtually subverting one of its own and blaming the rest of the country for the postures of political candidates.

“For the purposes of clarity, it should be emphasized that Northern voters will not be stampeded or threatened by Ohanaeze Ndigbo. The North can identify ethnic and religious politics and will see it clearly in this reckless statement coming from Ohanaeze Ndigbo.

“Northern Elders Forum appeals to leaders and elders to show maturity and leadership as we embark on campaigns that are, in themselves, fraught with threats and dangers.

“The Forum advises Nigerians that the democratic system does not operate on the basis of threats and blackmail, and we should be prepared to support and vote for any candidates of our choice next year.”

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