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By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo 

The Arewa Youth Awareness Forum (AYAF) has said that the choice of Governor Nyesom  Wike as running mate to the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) showed Atiku Abubakar’s determination to win the  2023 presidential race through strategic nationwide mobilization for votes.

AYAF expressed  delight with the choice of Governor Wike  because of  his numerous   infrastructural projects in Rivers state which were  commissioned by eminent persons across the federation, including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar; and urged religious leaders to allow political parties make  their choices.

The group in a statement signed by the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary-General – Mohammed Sani-Kabir, Salisu Abdurrahaman and Ben Alege respectively, 

averred that the PDP is demonstrating a keen sense of reward because Governor Wike’s  contribution to his party is unmatched by any of his peers in the South-South.

“Religious leaders should allow political parties make  their choices, they should emphasise the capacity to roll back poverty, insecurity, illiteracy and other indices of underdevelopment  which matter more than sentiments,” they said.

“In view of deeply-rooted economic, security and other challenges of nation-building that the nation faces today, one thing that is more needed than religious and ethnic sentiments is good, impactful governance characterised by mass inclusion and leadership that has capacity to move mountains.”

“The PDP is demonstrating a keen sense of reward because Governor Wike’s  contribution to his party is unmatched by any of his peers in the South-South; in spite of criticisms against him, his impact had been felt in the party from Abia to Zamfara states.”

“We believe that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will do well as a  progressive party by following PDP’s method of involving every level of the party in the choice of a Vice President backed by voters; through  that, demons of religious and other sentiments would have been considerably laid to rest as the nation goes ahead to pick next leadership.”

“Likewise, criticizing PDP’s choice of Governor Nyesom Wike on the basis of religious sentiments is absolutely unhelpful to democracy; if PDP and its presidential candidate see the inclusion of Governor Wike on the ticket as a strategy to mobilize huge votes, so be it.”

“While we respect all our religious leaders, we must all caution ourselves a bit to curb the way occasional admixture of politics and religion further  divides people and lead to combustible reactions; if MURIC which dislikes Wike and the CAN which is criticizing APC’s inclinations chose, they may float a political party and share positions of presidential candidate and running mate between one another on the basis of religious considerations in future elections.”

“As far as we are concerned, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s  choice of a Southerner in the person of Governor  Wike who has a track record of developmental projects, including those commissioned by our revered Sultan, remains a very reasonable strategy for winning the 2023 elections,” AYAF said.

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