The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) stated that it has reviewed the preparations for the upcoming 2023 general elections, especially in light of recent developments and the Northern General Assembly.
According to a statement issued by the Forum’s director of publicity and advocacy, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Forum has taken note of the comments of Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of one of the Afenifere organizations.
He said Adebanjo “In his usual rantings, this time in campaigning for Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party, he said, among other inflammatory outbursts, that if Nigerians do not elect his candidate, it will be the end of Nigeria. This statement is, to say the least, irresponsible and condemnable.”
He added that “it is the worst thing that can be said in promoting a candidate, but that is the the business of the candidate. We do not believe that Chief Adebanjo’s reckless outburst reflects the quality or essence of the Obi/Datti ticket.”
The Forum advised people like Chief Adebanjo to try to be more responsible, adding that threats and insults will not win elections.
“Nigerians will not be scared from exercising their choices freely. The unity and survival of Nigeria are not dependent on politicians who think they can intimidate citizens, or instigating actions that will subvert a credible election and a peaceful transition to the next administration,” he said.
He went on to say that the North is committed to supporting a credible election under peaceful conditions and will back any candidate who emerges as the winner. He urged leaders, elders, politicians, and authorities to avoid inciting young Nigerians, who are more susceptible to dangerous rhetoric.
“If there are Nigerians with any influence over Chief Adebanjo, they should advise him to show respect for his age and all the advantages he enjoys from being a Nigerian,” he stated.