Ahead of next month’s presidential election in Nigeria, the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has pledged its support for the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, on grounds that he possesses a better credentials to tackle the current security challenges in the country than his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) opponent and the incumbent President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
The forum led by former Nigeria’s permanent representative in the United Nations, Mr Maitama Sule, appealed to Nigerians to vote for Buhari in the presidential election.
Addressing a news conference in Kaduna on Wednesday, spokesman for the forum, Professor Ango Abdullahi, said the forum’s support for Buhari as well as the huge support the former Head of State enjoyed from millions of Nigerians were based on the belief that “he has the capacity to eliminate corruption and transform the nation’s economy”.
The forum also raised alarm over an alleged move by a group of politicians to install an Interim National Government in order to stop the forthcoming elections, and therefore warned that Nigerians from all works of life will reject such moves.
The Northern Elders while requesting that President Jonathan provides the necessary enabling environment for the conduct of credible polls, also expressed worries with the mode of campaign of blackmail and violence being adopted by politicians and their parties. The also condemned the rising cases of deadly attacks by Boko Haram insurgents in the north-east, and however called on the military to intensify efforts in recapturing areas lost to the sect members in order to ensure that indigenes of those places would be adequately protected during and after the election.
Other issues raised by the forum include poor distribution of Permanent Voters Cards by the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and the likelihood that Internally Displaced Persons in the north-east may not vote in the election. The group, however, urged the electoral body to ensure that the voting rights of the displaced persons were upheld.