April 19, 2024

Regret voting Tinubu comment: Northern Elders can’t speak for entire region–Progressive Northern Elements

Kano Emirate tussle: Wade in now before it degenerates into chaos - Ulamas to Tinubu

Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo

Northern groups have risen in defence of President Bola Tinubu following an assertion by the Director of Publicity and Advocacy, of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, that the north regretted voting President Bola Tinubu during the 2023 presidential election and that it would not repeat such mistake in 2027.

Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, had in an interview said, “moving forward, the North will be more cautious in selecting a candidate for the presidency. They will prioritise someone who is seen as more inclusive, less controversial, and more aligned with the interests of all regions of the country.” This comment has therefore triggered a debate between supporters of President Tinubu in the North and those who aligned with the position of NEF even as the Northern Elders Forum has disowned its Spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, over his statement saying he was on his own.

In its reaction, a group from the north, the Progressive Northern Elements, tackled the Northern Elders’ position over its position on President Tinubu arguing that it was too early to fault the President. The Progressive Northern Elements through its Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Mohammed Modibbo, said it was too early for Northern Elders Forum to start finding fault lines in a President it supported to win the election, adding that the President was doing well.

His words: “Rather than stirring up unnecessary tension and over heating the polity without recourse to the sustained efforts to make Nigeria, especially the north, a more economically vibrant region, we expect the North to rally round President Tinubu-led administration to succeed. We have noticed Tinubu’s sincerity and commitment to tackling the prolonged security challenges facing the North and frantic efforts towards revamping the economy of the entire country.

So, we were worried to hear our Northern elders speaking too early when former President of northern extraction, exhausted eight years in office with several unresolved challenges ranging from severe insecurity, high unemployment, collapse of agriculture activities due to banditry, and bad economy, yet the voice of the Northern Elders was not heard.

At this point, we have no option than to join Matawalle to say members of NEF lack the authority to speak for the entire region as they have become political burden to Northerners. We vow that any destructive journey that will bring the North to disrepute by NEF for personal and selfish gains will be met with stiff resistance. President Bola Ahmed Tinubu won the February 2023 presidential election convincingly and has a four-year tenure to execute his campaign promises to Nigerians and until then, he must be allowed to work without distractions,” the group stated.

Northern Elders derailing from their advisory role—–Arewa Progressives Forum

Similarly, the Arewa Progressive Forum (APFO) also dissociated itself from the views of the Northern Elders Forum. In his reaction, National Secretary of the APFO, Magaji Abbas Danbatta expressed regret that the recent outbursts of the Elders forum did not represent the Northern agenda for peace and national unity of the country which was not negotiable.

Danbatta said it was an error for any group or political association to come out openly and announce their regret over a majority decision, warning that Northern elders were derailing from their counseling and advisory role to the government on national issues as it affects the region.

The group supported Minister of State Defense, Bello Mohammed Matawalle in his response to the NEF outbursts against President Tinubu, saying, the people behind the claim were more interested in personal gains than the unity and survival of Nigeria. “We are of the view that President Tinubu’s approach to the issues of security in the North so far, especially Northwest is one of the best compared to his immediate predecessor’s approach,” the group said.

Vanguard News