February 5, 2023

Northern Elders warn Buhari over influence peddlers intent on derailing electoral process


—-Caution electorate against supporting parties with ethnic agendas, candidates with corruption baggage

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja

Less than three weeks to the presidential election in the country, the Northern Elders Council, NEC, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to handle situations leading to the general elections with caution so as to guarantee a rancour-free and transparent exercise.

NEC, which has expressed its support to the All Progressives Congress, APC Presidential Candidate in the February 25 elections, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, warned against the activities of those it described as non-state actors in the presidency, whose intents it claimed were not just to feather their nests, but will stop at nothing to use their closeness to leadership to generate chaos and derail the electoral process, for their selfish gains.

Consequently NEC warned the Buhari-led administration to be wary of such elements, who are allegedly at the corridors of power.

The pan-Northern ethnic group led by a 98-year old elder statesman, Mallam Tanko Yakasai, further advised Nigerians to be careful in the choices they make in order not to fall for the traps of groups and political parties running ethnic agendas as well as those parading candidates with the blemishes of corruption on their their identity.

The northern elders group in a statement issued weekend in Abuja, said it has taken stock of developments around the nation’s political space and would be joining forces with progressive elements to ensure Nigerians do not get it wrong at the coming polls.

The statement signed by Mallam Yakasai said it would be making more policy statements on the state of the nation in coming days, after it’s next Congress.

It read in part: “NEC, at all times, will not shy away from its commitment to peace, unity, and stability of Nigeria.

“NEC’s power is invested in elected people who hold it in trust for the electorate.

“People who, out of consanguinity ties, friendship loyalties, or privileged proximity to elected public officials, abuse power, must be rejected and prevented from subverting the popular will of people’s choices during elections.

“Corruption is not only about monetary and unfettered access to state treasury. It also includes peddling in influence by a handfull of non-state actors in the corridors of power, seeking to foster chaos to derail democratic transitions, as enshrined in the constitution. We must resolutely reject that in this country.

“Northern Elders Council, under the leadership of Mallam Tanko Yakasai, in this regard, appeals to the Federal Government to be mindful of its onerous responsibilty for organized, rancour free and transparent elections, as a lasting legacy in promoting the sanctity of democratic rule.

“NEC has made an unequivocal statement and principled declaration of its support for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as its Presidential Candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

“The Congress of NEC will shortly meet and make public, more policy statements on the State of the Nation”, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the NEC has commended President Buhari for boldly professing his support for his party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu, during the APC presidential campaign rally in Lafia, Nasarawa State on Saturday, describing the outing as a masterstroke that will send the right signal, not just to the faithful of the ruling party, but to all Nigerians, allowing all to see that there are no cracks within the ruling party.