The Arewa Joint Committee has stated that it will publish the commitments of presidential candidates with whom it interacted prior to the 2023 presidential election, emphasizing that the exercise was not intended to endorse any specific candidate for the upcoming election. According to Track News, the Arewa Consultative Forum, Northern Elders Forum, Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Jamiyyar Matan Arewa, Arewa House (Centre for Historical Development and Research), and Arewa Research Development Project comprise the Arewa Joint Committee.
The presidential candidates invited to the interactive meeting were Peter Obi of the Labour Party, Kola Abiola of the Peoples Redemption Party, Adewole Adebayo of the Social Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party.
Kwankwaso, on the other hand, refused to attend the dialogue, claiming that the Joint Committee had already endorsed a presidential candidate.
The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Mallam Murtala Aliyu, who is also the Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, told journalists in Kaduna on Tuesday that the exercise was part of a plan to generate candidates’ commitment to addressing the region’s challenges.
“We are grateful to the candidates who honored our invitation and demonstrated respect for public opinion and Nigerian voters by submitting themselves to the most intimate scrutiny by northern elders and other groups, the media, and the public,” the committee chairman added.
“These interactions, the first of their kind in our country’s history, have been a huge success.” First, they demonstrated the North’s strong bonds of unity, as represented by the collaborating groups, and our unwavering commitment to finding the best quality of leadership among the many candidates seeking our support.
“Second, the candidates who participated in the process demonstrated a commendable level of respect for the democratic process.”
“Third, they provided Nigerians with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and hear candidates speak about their plans and vision.”
“Fourth, they aided in focusing attention on the North’s unique and shared problems and challenges, as well as scrutinizing the candidates’ levels of understanding and sympathy for them.”
“Finally, they raised the bar in our search for accountable and competent leadership.”
“These interactions were not intended to endorse a candidate in and of themselves.” They are part of a larger process that aims to generate commitments from candidates to address the challenges of the North over the course of the campaign.
“We intend to extract and publish these commitments so that Nigerians can compare and contrast candidates.” Our goal is to enable citizens to compare candidates’ positions on issues critical to the North’s interests.
“The North will be challenged to increase its vigilance over all electoral activities until the elections in February 2023.” Among candidates, we must prioritize evidence of competence, integrity, quality of preparation, and commitment to addressing the challenges of the North.”