The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has given conditions to various presidential candidates seeking their support for the 2023 general elections.
Naija News reports that the forum said all the presidential candidates will be subjected to rigorous interrogation exercise to test their competence, capacity, and knowledge about the issues affecting the country.
The Spokesman of the forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known on Sunday night during an appearance on ‘Politics Today,’ a programme on Channels Television.
Baba-Ahmed also stated that the interrogation exercise is to reveal which of the candidates have the capacity to rescue the country, adding that the exercise will not be a tough one for the flagbearers.
He said the forum will not make the same mistake of 2015 when they charged the people to cede their bloc votes to President Muhammadu Buhari without requesting his plan for the Nigerians.
He said, “We will subject all candidates including Atiku, Tinubu, Obi through a rigorous process and they had better be willing because, believe me, we carry the responsibility on our shoulders to advise people in the north where to go. I am not saying this to impress anybody. We will exercise that responsibility seriously.
“What we promise not to do this time around was not to repeat what we did in 2015 and say ‘Vote for only Sai Baba” where we escort him to the villa but failed to sit him down and ask what he planned to do. It would no longer be about fixing the economy, security and the fight against Boko Haram, They must be specific.
“Buhari got away with it in 2015 and in 2019, we campaigned against him, saying this time he has failed and won’t be given another chance. Today, look at where the country is. We are not going to make that mistake again.”
Support Won’t Be Based On Ethnicity
Speaking further, Baba-Ahmed stated that the forum will not support any candidate based on region, stressing that the options available to the forum are open.
The NEF spokesman added that the forum’s endorsement will be based on the mental health, competence, intellect capacity and political will of the candidate.
He said: “At this stage, our options are open. We will not vote on a narrow prism-like where (candidates) come from. I speak for the elders’ forum. There was no point we said only northern candidates will be considered. We don’t see the north in isolation. We see ourselves as related to other parts of Nigeria.
“I don’t know what the other parts of the country are doing but the North is not just going to vote for any candidate unless we are convinced that he has done some serious thinking about what he is going to do for this country.
“But we need to know the presidential candidate’s mental health, physical, intellect capacity and his willingness to tap into some of the brightest brains available and his sensitivity to a number of key issues that are vital to our survival as a country.”