Buhari Accuses FG of Religious Manipulation Ahead of 2015

BuhariThe former head of state and Presidential Aspirant of the All Progressive Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari says the greatest problem facing Nigeria is not religion or tribal differences, but the deliberate plot by the ruling People’s Democratic Party(PDP) led government to use religion and ethnicity to polarise the country for selfish gains ahead of the 2015 general election.

Speaking during the APC Northern Stakeholders Interactive Meeting held in Kaduna on Saturday, General Buhari noted that going by the militarisation of the last governorship election in Ekiti and Osun states where a large number of soldiers and other security operatives were deployed for the election, shows that the ruling PDP is desperate to hold on to power using every means at its disposal.

He argued that the abducted Chibok school girls from Borno state by the Boko Haram members would have been rescued if the federal government had deployed such number of soldiers to the north east where the Boko Haram terrorists have killed thousands of innocent people.

While stating that 2015 should be another year of extreme concern for the country, Buhari said another four years of PDP will send Nigeria down the drain and therefore called on the Independent National Electoral Commission( INEC) to ensure that it does not disenfranchise eligible voters in the ongoing voter registration and to also provide a level playing ground for all political parties and candidates.

Also speaking Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state, stressed the need for the north to be united in order to defeat some of the challenges confronting the region, lamenting that the north had remained backward despite its contribution to nation building, calling on all Nigerians to be actively involved in the political transition by voting an APC government that will rescue the country from alleged maladministration of the PDP.

The Deputy national chairman of the party, Lawal Shuaibu who set the agenda of the day, said the meeting was convened primarily to discuss the state of the party as it affects the north and the country in general and thereafter seek the opinion of party leaders on how to move the party forward.

He said since the last APC national convention, the party has faced a number of challenges which include the impeachment of the former Adamawa state governor, Murtala Nyako, the move to remove his Nasarawa state counter part through unconstitutional means and the loss recorded by the party in the Ekiti state governorship election, stating that the meeting has nothing to do with discussing on who emerges as the consensus presidential candidate of the party.

Other speakers include the Northern Elders Forum and the Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF) which urged the party to come up with a formidable consensus presidential candidate that will be acceptable to the North and the country at large in other to defeat the ruling PDP in the next election.

Present at the meeting were presidential aspirants of the party, General Muhammadu Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Sam Nda Isaiah.

Others are governors of the party, senators, party chairmen and other stakeholders from the 19 northern states.

Group Urges All Political Parties To Field Northern Presidential Candidates

President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term in office appears to be tearing the north apart as the two leading groups in the region; the Northern Elders Forum and the newly inaugurated Northern Elders Council have engaged themselves in a war of words over his ambition.

While the Arewa Consultative Forum(ACF), which is largely seen as the voice of the North and the Northern Elders Forum  have been insisting on a northern president in the 2015 election, the  new group,  the Northern Elders Council (NEC) has declared its support for President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term in office.

The group which was launched in Kaduna, on Thursday, February 6, has Tanko Yakassai, an elder statesman, as its leader.

Yakassai said the new group was ready to partner with other individuals from all parts of the country who believe in dialogue, mutual respect, harmony and peaceful coexistence.

While the Northern Elders Forum is urging all political parties in the country to field only northerners as their presidential candidates and avoid being moved by groups from the region canvassing for a level playing ground for everyone, the Tanko Yakassai-led group is insisting that all candidates, including President Jonathan, should be giving an equal opportunity.

The Northern Elders Forum led by Ambassador Maitama Sule also accused the Federal Government of using some politicians to divide the region along religious and ethnic lines.

Speaking to Channels Television in Kaduna, spokesperson of the Northern Elders forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi noted that fielding a northern presidential candidate by political parties in 2015 would go a long way to balance the existing rotational arrangement of two tenures of eight years between the north and south.

He lamented that President Goodluck Jonathan, who was a beneficiary of rule of law, was trying to truncate that arrangement by seeking re-election in 2015, but vowed that the north would resist the attempt.

But the Publicity Secretary of the newly formed Northern Elders Council, Ambassador Yusuf Mamman, disagrees with the professor, dismissing all the issues raised by the Northern Elders Forum, describing their position  that power must return to the region  as “self-serving and a baseless agitation”.

He said President Jonathan had the constitutional right to seek a second term in office, if he so desired, and wondered why some group of elders in the region were trying to overheat the polity with their selfish ambitions.

However, the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, at the inauguration of the new leadership of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in Kaduna called for caution.

According to him, the north cannot make any meaningful political and economic progress with the proliferation of group of elders.

Gowon, who is the chairman of Board of Patrons, said there was no need for proliferation of the elders’ group since all of them gave birth to the ACF as one channel that should speak for the North.