The Arewa Joint Committee has distanced itself from the ethnic comment made by the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
The committee said it has no business with the remark made by Atiku.
The Joint Committee comprising of six Northern groups namely; Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Arewa House, Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Arewa Research and Development Project (ARDP), and Jamiyyar Matan Arewa hosted presidential candidates over the weekend.
During the event, Atiku said, “an average Northerner does not need a Yoruba or Igbo president, but a northern President who is a pan Nigeria.”
Atiku made the remark while responding to a question from the spokesman of Northern Elders Forum, NEF, Dr. Hakeem Baba.
However, the Chairman Steering Committee, Murtala Aliyu, said the opinions expressed by Atiku and other presidential candidates have nothing to do with the committee’s objectives.
He said, “Atiku should clear himself. The same question asked by the Committee was administered to other presidential candidates too. So we have no business with the opinion expressed by our guests.
“These interactions in themselves were not planned with the goal of endorsing a candidate. They are part of a longer process that plans to generate commitments to address the challenges of the North by candidates, and which covers a substantial part of the campaigning period.
“Until the elections in February 2023 the North will be challenged to raise its vigilance over all electoral activities. It is vital that we prioritize evidence of competence, integrity, quality of preparation and commitment to address the challenges of the North among candidates.
“The exploitation of ethnic and religious fault lines is extremely dangerous, and the nation is already showing signs of stress owing to this exploitation.”