The Northern Elders’ Forum says the region will only vote for a competent president regardless of where he comes from in the 2023 presidential election in the country.
The NEF noted that it won’t repeat the same mistake of voting for just any candidate as done to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), based on sentiment in 2015.
The Forum described Buhari as a disappointment to not only the North but the entire country.
The NEF’s Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, stated this in an interview with newsmen on the sideline of the meeting of northern leaders of thought and groups held at the Arewa House, Kaduna on Saturday.
According to the NEF’s spokesman, a northerner and his southern counterpart have equal rights to vie for the nation’s exalted office in the 2023 presidential race.
He, however, said that the north would vote for a competent president in 2023 whether from the north or south, adding that the region would go for a competent ‘Nigerian president’ only.
Baba-Ahmed maintained that no northern presidential candidate should take the region for granted in the 2023 race, pointing out that that was how the region ended up with what he described as the “Buhari mistake”.
He said the north was deceived into voting in Buhari believing that the country would be better off. He, however, lamented that the reverse was the case today as the north and the entire country was worst off than when Buhari took over in 2015.
Baba-Ahmed, a former Independent National Electoral Commission’s Secretary, said “a northerner and a Southerner have equal rights to contest but Northerners should be very careful of who they vote for in 2023.
“No northerner should take us for granted. That’s how we ended up with President Buhari. We don’t want to repeat the same mistake. If you must be a northerner who’s better than all the candidates; for us, that’s the bottom line. It’s not enough to be a northerner, you have to be the best. You have to be the best for the North and you have to be the best for the rest of Nigeria.
“We are looking for a Nigerian President. If it comes from the North, fine but he must be voted for by Nigerians and he must be good and he must be better than all the others. That’s what we are looking for.”
He scored the Buhari’s regime low in all aspects ranging from the worsening security, corruption to the sorry state of the nation’s economy and summed him up as a “disappointment.”