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2023: Northern elders urged to consider consensus candidate from south-east

The United for Better Nigeria Initiative (UBNi) has urged the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and other northern elders to endorse a credible aspirant from the…

The United for Better Nigeria Initiative (UBNi) has urged the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and other northern elders to endorse a credible aspirant from the South East geo-political as a consensus presidential candidate.

The National Coordinator of UBNi, Mrs. Nkoli Mkparu, said on Wednesday in Abuja that this would be in the spirit of inclusiveness and representational justice.

She also urged the northern elders to join the pan-Yoruba social cultural group, Afenifere in the search for a president of south-east extraction.

Apparently reacting to the outcome of the consensus arrangement by some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aspirants from the north, Mkparu said that the elders should consider the rich credentials of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, who was elected as Senate President at the age of 39 and has been a loyal member of the PDP at all times.

Mkparu cautioned that having another president from another part of the country, in 2023, would further marginalize Nigerians of south east extraction and that the south east had at different times supported northern candidates to assume the nation’s number one position.

The controversial consensus arrangement piloted by chairman of the NEF, Prof. Ango Abdulahi suggested immediate past president of the Senate, Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed as the party’s consensus candidates for the north.

But the UBNi leaders faulted the arrangement, saying that the northern elders should look beyond their region for a good presidential candidate in 2023.

Mkparu noted that the unity and harmonious co-existence of interest groups within the Nigeria should be considered in the overall interest of the country.

She said, “The NEF and other northern elders should in the spirit of inclusiveness engage aspirants from the South East zone and declare support for anyone who meets their criteria. Nobody can become president by being popular only in his geo-political zone, therefore leaders and opinion molders from other geo-political zones should concede the 2023 slot to the north and announce their preferred candidate(s).

“Anyim has remained a loyal member of the PDP from inception. His commitment through good and bad times has seen him become a member of the Party’s Board of Trustees (BOT), National Caucus and the National Executive Committee (NEC).

“He has also served as a member of the PDP’s Reconciliation Committee and had once declared his interest to become the Chairman of the Party. He ran a principled campaign and enjoyed the support and endorsements of party members across the country, however a consensus agreement reached to zone the chairmanship to another geopolitical zone (other than his), prevented him from clinching the party’s top job.”

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