Muhammad Yakubu, chieftain of the Arewa Consultative Forum, has said the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar is the North’s endorsed candidate.
The Forum had in a statement released through its Secretary-General, Murtala Aliyu, directed Nigerians to vote the presidential candidate of their choice, one who has clear, objective party manifestos, character and track record.
However, while addressing a press conference at the 11A Sokoto road Secretariat of the ACF in Kaduna State on Monday, Yakubu said from recent statements by notable northern elders such as Zango Daura, Ango Abdullahi, among others, the region has adopted Atiku.
According to him, the region is supporting the PDP flagbearer not because he is a northerner but because he has the capacity and experience to take the country to the promised land.
His words: “The ACF came to be as a result of certain happenings in the country. The emergence of the ACF is to protect the northern interest and so far, so good, as we head to the polls in a couple of days, our elders, leaders in the likes of Alhaji Sani Zango Daura (the Danmasanin Daura), Prof. Ango Abdullahi, have given us a direction. Atiku is the candidate of the north and that is the direction we are going to follow.
“And that’s the candidate majority of northerners are going to vote for. So, this is one of the reasons that I called for the press conference and if there are other issues you guys want clarification, I am ready to give you answers. I am also the National Convener of Atiku/Okowa Patriots.”
Addressing the statement of the Forum’s secretary-general that the ACF backed rotational presidency, he said, “It’s not true. That’s why I am holding this press conference. At no time did the ACF meet to have taken that kind of decision. That kind of decision can either come from the National Executive Council or the National Working Committee. So, since none of these bodies had met, how would that kind of decision emerge. Either the press is misrepresenting the secretary-general or some people had concocted some stories.”
Reacting to whether the ACF is in support of his position, he said, “Of course, the ACF is established to protect the interest of the north and where is Atiku from? And let me give you a background story. If you have been following the ACF history, you will discover that at each point in time that the county is at crossroads, the ACF and the north usually come to stabilise the country.
“The north supported Obasanjo and he won; the north supported former President Goodluck Jonathan and Jonathan won. Each time the north supports anybody, not because that person is from the north. The north usually considers capacity and competence and integrity. These are the factors the north used to consider.
“The north is supporting Atiku not because Atiku is from the north. No, it’s because at this point in time, among the candidates we have now, it’s Atiku that has the capacity, the competence and the integrity and the reach out across the country.”