…Tells pro-Buhari group we aren’t partisan
By Ben Agande
Kaduna—In what appears a major shift in position, Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, yesterday told a pro-Buhari group from Kano, under the aegis of Muhammadu Buhari Legacy Implementation Initiatives, that it was not a partisan group and could not, therefore, support only President Muhammadu Buhari as a candidate for 2019 election.
According to ACF, other northern candidates that put themselves forward will also be supported.
Vice Chairman of ACF, Senator Abubakar Girei, who responded to the demand by the pro-Buhari group that only President Buhari should be supported for election in 2019, said the forum would not shut its doors against other candidates from the region if they indicated interest.
Girei told the group: “I don’t agree with you that by next election North does not need any other person, I suggest that you reconsider your position.
“Secondly, you don’t need to tell us about Buhari’s honesty because we know, that was why Nigerians voted for him. What you can do now is to bring out the legacies or achievements of Buhuri, which Nigerians don’t know so that the people can appreciate him and his kind of character.”
His position was re-echoed by the National Legal Adviser of ACF, Hajiya Halima Alfa, as well as a member of its National Executive Council, Senator Joseph Waku, who told the group that ACF was a wrong place for their campaign.
The ACF legal adviser told the group: “This is ACF. In our constitution, we say we are not partisan, and so on, so whatever we do, we should do it in line with our constitution because here we are with Buhari legacy group urging us to vote for Buhari as President, and another time may come, and we may not know who is watching and listening, and for this body to pick Buhari as an individual to campaign for Buhari in 2017, I think it is wrong for this August body.
“I feel this is not the right place for you to extend this cause because in 2014/2015 when Buhari was coming, I will want you to note that this body ACF vouched for Buhari, and today is history.
‘’So I will not support according to our constitution to come here in 2017 to canvass for Buhari in 2019. This is not the right place for this.
“For what the constitution of ACF stands for, we have to be very mindful because even in 2015 when Buhari was contesting, he was not the only northern candidate, we had about four of them from Arewa.
“If any one of them should come here and say they too want to portray the legacies of whoever they stand for, then we have to listen to all. We have to very careful and mindful of what we do” she said.
In his own reaction, Senator Joseph Waku told the group: “This is a wrong place for your group to make a first stop, particularly for measuring two political parties in our midst. We are not here to assess political party that is strong or weak.
‘’Therefore, we welcome you democratically, freedom of speech, freedom of association, you are entitled to it.
“Having said that, Buhari became President of Nigeria because he is Buhari, it is not because of you, not because of APC, not because of PDP, it is because he is Buhari. And I keep telling Nigerians that APC did not win election, Buhari won election. And, therefore, coming to lecture us about Buhari legacy, you are in wrong place.
“We should go back to our states to pray for Buhari, and after that, we can talk about election. When Nigerians voted for Buhari, they didn’t know you and your group. We are not here in ACF for cheap publicity.”.
The national chairman of ACF, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, directed the political committee of the Forum to work with Pro-Buhari group to obtain whatever report they had to submit to the northern socio-cultural and pressure group.
The Chairman, Muhammadu Buhari legacy Implementation Initiatives, Ado Mohammed, had earlier explained: “After Muhammadu Buhari was elected President in 2015, we decided that we should go round the whole country to implement Buhari’s legacies, assisting him from outside the government.
“We opted to look at his commitment, dedication, patriotism and sincerity of purpose to good governance and development of Nigeria.
“We are going to go round the 36 states of the country, beginning from Kano, to mobilise for the President. We have started consultation with the 44 local government areas of Kano State, all the 434 wards are involved.
“What remains for us now is to start recruitment before the end of July, and we are calling on the management of this Forum to cooperate with us.
“After this, we will start from North East States that are considered as Buhari’s stronghold, that is, Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states.’’