The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has raised concerns over what it described as attempts to heighten tension by some southern socio-cultural groups, which it noted were determined to stampede Nigerians into subverting the foundational principles of the democratic process.
This was contained in a statement issued yesterday by NEF’s spokesperson, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed.
He stated, “While the real politicians are busy campaigning all over the country out of the knowledge that all Nigerians must participate equally in the selection of candidates and voting for leaders in 2023, leaders of groups from the South are busy rehashing old threats and intimidating tactics in a bid to deny the northerner his right to vie for his party’s ticket and vote for the next president without limitations to his right to choose.”
He stated that such tactics would not scare the North and would not win the southern politician the type of support needed to compete to become Nigeria’s next president.
“The NEF does not believe that these elders speak for serious aspirants and prospective southern candidates when they threaten even the survival of the country they aspire to lead unless they have their way. The very vigorous campaigns by aspirants from every part of the South against each other ought to remind these elderly Nigerians that zoning is retrogressive, unworkable and anti-democratic.
“Our forum encourages all aspirants and candidates to fully participate in all their parties’ activities. It advises elders of groups from the South to behave in a manner befitting their statuses and avoid pitching parts of the country against each other.
“We appeal to southern politicians seeking the support of northern voters to assure them that they do not share the doomsday scenario being peddled by some leaders of southern socio-cultural groups. Political parties that find northerners deserving to fly their flags should not be intimidated by scare tactics that they would lose southern votes,” NEF noted in the statement.