By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
As Nigerians count hours to the commencement of the 2023 general elections, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), has cautioned electorate against voting for those with no capacity to deliver, as well as those handpicked by the president or governors.
ACF expressed this in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Murtala M. Aliyu, made available to our correspondent yesterday in Kaduna.
“Voters will do great disservice to themselves if they were to vote into offices persons they know, or should know, have no capacity to perform well, or are persons with questionable character.
“Voters are also always advised to shun those unhealthy schemes whereby a president or state governor handpicks a successor. Nothing promotes entrenched corruption, cronyism and poor leadership more that such schemes as such dubious
“The nation will never be able of identify and select good leaders among its people so long as some dubious people are allowed to
manipulate the selection of candidates and the ultimate election processes,” ACF said.
The group said that in a few days, some 93 million Nigerians will go to the polls to elect a new President, 31 State Governors, 469 Members of the National Assembly, and 990 Members of the 36 State Houses of Assembly.
“There is no doubt that this is a gigantic and important exercise.
Our hopes and prayers are that the elections will be held peacefully, and will produce outcomes that will help take the country closer to its main development goals of building a free, just, democratic, and egalitarian society.
“A great, united, and self-reliant nation, with a strong and dynamic
economy. A land full of bright opportunities for all citizens.
Clearly, the necessary requirement for achieving success in the elections is the determination of Nigerians to ensure it actually succeeds.
“Towards that end, the federal government, in particular, must commit itself to delivering
what should turn out to be a fair, transparent, credible and hitch-free
elections the outcomes of which must be decided only by the votes cast,” the statement said.
ACF explained that the President has at various times, and at different fora, promised to do that.
“The nation looks forward to the fulfillment of that promise.
At times such as this when the nation in election mode, such as time like this, the ACF has always taken the liberty to draw the attention of voters to the right qualities they should look for when deciding whom to cast their
“At each occasion such as this the key selection criteria we
recommend to voters to consider are very clear and objective party
manifestos and the character and track records of the candidates,” it added.
The group explained that cardinal and national goal of Nigeria includes the creation of a nation in which: “though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand”.
“We, as a nation, believed so much in such slogan that at one time, it was a part of our national anthem!
“And in simple terms, it means that in our search for good leaders, we must cast our nets far beyond our ethnic, religious or geographical interests.
“A leader does not have to come from our tribe, zone, region or religious persuasion. We
should seek for leaders that best cater for our national interests, and who are elected within the tenets of democratic processes.
“The tenets that allow people to choose leaders who will best cater for interests of the generality of the people, not their individual personal or the interests of their ethnic or religious groups.
“When 17 State Governors from Southern part of Nigeria, and from different political parties met last year and demanded that a Southerner must be elected as the president of Nigeria, the heavens did not fall. It was accepted that as we are in a democracy, they were entitled to their views and opinions.
“Quite recently also, some 14 Northern Governors belonging
to the ruling All progressives Congress Party, (APC), and came out with the announcement that they had committed themselves to ensuring that a candidate of their party from the Southern part of the country is elected president of the country.
“Their reason was that the emergence and subsequent election of a person from the southern part of the country will
serve to entrench the principle of North/South power rotation in the politics Nigeria.
“Though the principle of power rotation is still largely and somewhat controversial, nonetheless, under our democratic dispensation we must reconcile ourselves to accepting that Nigeria is a country for all its citizens,
and each citizen has right to choose whatever he or she believes to be in the best interests of themselves and their followers.
“At the same time, however, they also have to accept the principle of power rotation between
North and South.
“Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) wishes to commend all those who have worked tirelessly, and have sacrificed so much, for what has so far been remarkable arrangements and preparations for the 2023 general elections.
“Particular and special thanks goes to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for creating the conducive environment that will ensure that the elections are free and fair, and that every vote cast counts.
“We are particularly impressed by the introduction of technology in the electioneering process, a right step that will surely serve to check against such hitherto usual electoral malpractices of over-voting, ballot stuffing, ballot box snatching and the alteration of results.
“The online transmission of
results from the polling points to the collating centers and the provision of facilities for people to monitor election results online are also innovations that will ensure that the elections are not rigged.
“The various Security Agencies, the political parties their candidates, followers, are also worthy of
praise for what have so far been a remarkable preparations for the all
“The resolve of Nigerians to conclude the 2023 general
elections successfully has also never been in doubt. Given all that have been accomplished, there is no earthly reason for anyone to even attempt to temper with the announced timetable of the elections. That will be totally
“In conclusion, the ACF will like to observe that whatever candidates and their supporters would wish, the final verdict will be that determined by the votes Nigerians cast.
“There will definitely be winners and losers, so whichever way it goes, no one should attempt to disrespect the decision of Nigerians by condemning, or, even worse, rejecting the outcome. That will be a cruel attack on our democracy and Nigerians will regard such conduct as un acceptable.
“Leaders in all climes must take all steps to ensure the safety of lives and property of all Citizens and foreigners in their domains,” the group advised.
They further advised the media to play a responsible role in reporting to douse any tension that may arise as a consequence of the elections and results.
“Governments at all levels must ensure a smooth transition to the next crop of leadership. But most importantly, Nigerians should come out and vote for the candidates of their choice on Saturday, 25th February, 2023, and two weeks later on Saturday, 11th March, 2023. Remember, not coming out to
vote is allowing yourself to be ruled by your inferiors!” ACF warned.