*Insist Atiku didn’t lose polls
Comrade Elliot Afiyo is the National President of the Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF), the umbrella Organisation of 42 Northern youth groups founded in 1994 by the Northern Traditional, Military, Political and Religious leaders to propagate and protect the northern political and economic interest within the national interest. Comrade (Dr) Elliot Afiyo is also the Secretary – General of the Association of West African Monarchs (AWAM), the umbrella body of Traditional Rulers in West Africa. In this interview with Journalists in Abeokuta, Comrade Afiyo bares his mind on the 2023 general elections.
Comrade sir, since 1999, your Forum secured victories for Candidates you endorsed and supported at all levels since 1999. But in the last presidential elections, former vice president Atiku lost in spite of all your support and endorsement. What went wrong Sir?
Thank you very much. I want to tell you categorically that Atiku did not lose the 2023 presidential election because there wasn’t any candidate that meets up with the constitutional requirements to be declared the winner of the 2023 presidential election. It was a conspiracy in dietriabe to declaring Tinubu as the winner of that election for fear of a rerun. 2023 presidential election was full of betrayals, conspiracies and deceptions
But your Forum couldn’t make the difference like the previous elections since 1999.
Our Forum performed the best ever since 1999. For the first time, our Forum faced the toughest and most challenging election and came out with good results especially in the North- East and North- West geopolitical zones.
How tough was the election sir?
You see, I held a press conference in Kano two weeks to the elections and drew the attention of our presidential candidate of an organised deception and betrayals. All the APC governors that promised to work for Atiku changed their minds three days to the elections because of the senseless and leucitic statement made by one of the Atiku’s campaign spokesmen that Atiku will investigate and jail them.
Secondly, the statement made by Atiku that he was going to restructure the country even at the detriment of his life, made the Fulani elites to work against him.
Thirdly, 85% of the people Atiku made as PCC members also betrayed him because the dollars given to them for logistics and mobilization, was only shared amongst and between them. They had erroneous and lithifying confidence that with or without mobilization, Atiku will win.
Fourthly, the people that were sincerely and honestly working for Atiku were side lined, barricaded, excluded and isolated. Thanks to some our patrons who saw all these things and decided to mobilise us and also gotten some assistance from international Organisations. These mobilisations coupled with our determination and commitments made the difference in the voting outcome.
We saw ourselves fighting against the collective decision of the Northern Governors, Fulani Elites and the Religious leaders from both the Islamic and Christian religions.
The Imams were heavily mobilised with millions of dollars while the statement made by Governor El-Rufai about the northern Christians population also encouraged and gingered the Christian clerics to mobilise Christians to waste their votes for Obi so as to prove el-Rufai wrong and teaches him and his cohorts a protogenetic and dangerous lesson. The ethnic angle was also given priority in some states like Kogi, Kwara and Niger. You can now see the forces NYLF faced and still ensured that Atiku won in the North.
Why Niger State?
Whether you believe it or not, Asiwaju has a link with the Nupes.
Are you saying Tinubu did not win the 2023 Presidential election?
I am telling you without fear of contradiction that Tinubu did not win the election that meets up with the constitutional requirements even after results were doctored. Prof Yakubu knew it and he made up his mind to announce a rerun. thirty minutes to the announcement, he was summoned and the decision was changed. Alterations and doctoring of results were made, that is why he reluctantly staged a podiatric coup against democracy and Nigerians, by going ahead and announced Tinubu as the winner at about 4:am
Sir, are you saying that Prof Yakubu staged a coup?
Prof. Yakubu is a learn tic Coupist by every reasoning. Coups are normally announced at early hours of the day and that what was he did. I will not be surprised if Prof Yakubu is arrested and tried for treasonable felony in the nearest future.
But the Northern Elders Forum and the Arewa Consultative Forum supported Atiku?
All these pressure groups are constituted for political relevance and financial patronage. They are far from translating to political victories. Unfortunately, the Aspirants and the Candidates patronize them at the detriment of the Youth groups. Some of these Individuals are not known in their localities. And if they are known, they cannot command political fellowship and followership which will translate to political voting and by extension, political victories.
Sir, so you agree with Governor el-Rufai that they don’t control votes?
I totally agree with him because he said nothing but the truth. How many of these elders will secure a political victory for their councillors not to talk of president? The Governors and the Youth Leaders control and determine the direction of voting in the North. The clerics are far politically better than these Elders.
The only aspect that I disagree with el-Rufai is denigration and localisation of the elders by calling them ‘so called elders’ and his statement on the Northern Christians which has caused major division among the Northerners. If care is not taken or more awareness created, it will be very difficult for a Northerner to win presidential election in the nearest future in a free and fair elections unless that Northerner is a Muslim and must come from one of the minority tribes.
President Buhari said that Atiku lost the election because of over confidence and complacency
That’s very true, over confidence in the sense that PCC members were doing what they feel like. Even the presidential candidate and his running mate were deliberately ignoring some stakeholders. The support groups were ignored and downgraded. The G5 Governors were termed and considered inconsequential. The Governor of Bauchi who is very popular and influential in the country especially the Northern Youth, was isolated not until I decided to take an action that maybe so devastating, before he was visited and invited for negotiation.
Let me tell you the truth, most of the key members of PCC of the PDP worked against Atiku because they have interest in 2027 and Atiku winning this election will block them. This is more reason why they pocketed the dollars, thereby frustrating the genuine efforts of Atiku’s supporters.
Another factor that causes complacency was the appointment of his spokesmen who were caucus members of the APC. These were people verily known with Tinubu, whatever they said were not given any serious consideration.
You can see Senator Dino saying ALLAH YA ISA to PDP in 2015. The same Dino saying ALLAH YA ISA to APC in 2019 and 2023. Spiritually, any Candidate that Dino becomes his or her Spokesman under PDP or APC, will never wins the election because he has used the same tongue to curse the Parties.
Sir, we read in some National Dailies prior to the elections that some Emirs threatened to assassinate you if Atiku wins the election in their States. How true is this statement?
Absolutely true, two of them told our Co-ordinators that they will assassinate me if Atiku wins in their States. I personally called them to confirm the story and they affirmed it. These threats made me to relocate to one of the States and informed the Emir that I was in the State to ensure that Atiku wins in all the States. I called some of our Patrons who mobilised funds for us. When Atiku won in the State, I placed a call to the Emir who later invited me for a dinner in his palace. After the Dinner, he looked at me said “shege Batta jo”, and I smiled and said mi yeti barkama walla aibe”. And that was all.
Sir, we were also told that Tinubu’s camp is making overtures for you to join the team.
For now, I will not join them until the final pronouncement by the Supreme court. In fact, the Northern Youth will never recognize Tinubu as President of Nigeria even after the swearing – in until the final pronouncement by the Supreme Court.
Are you saying that the inauguration ceremony should be stopped?
Under common sense or literal reasoning, the inauguration should have been done after final pronouncement by the Court. But in a situation like this, one should not expect that to happened. Seriously, it is a major set- back to our Country. But I am quite sure that God’s will would prevail very soon.
There was a story in one of the daily newspapers that you led a team of investigation from UN and EU to visit the six geo- political zones and the team was sponsored by one of your patrons.
The Team was a fact-finding Team. I was just privileged to guide them.
What do we expect from you and your Forum from now?
For now, let us allow the will of God to prevail. This is our only country that we can call our home. Enough of crisis and shedding of innocent blood. Let us all be law abiding and give maximum support to the security agencies. Sooner or later, Nigerians will definitely rejoice.