The Forum of Christian and Muslim Political Leaders from the 19 Northern states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have adopted the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, as the consensus candidate for the election next year.
Arising from a meeting of leaders and delegates from all over the North composed of religious leaders, women and youth organisations, they took the decision in Abuja on Friday at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre.
The forum adopted the report of the IRS Technical Committee led by a former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Umara Kumalia and Mr Nunge Mele.
It will be recalled that the Forum of Northern Christian and Muslim Leaders had on October 8 set up the committee to recommend a pan-Nigerian platform to adopt in the 2023 presidential election.
The resolution was contained in a communique jointly signed by a former Deputy Governor of Sokoto State and Minister of Water Resources during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Mukhtari Shagari and Professor D. D. Sheni.
The communique revealed that “Forum therefore adopted the PDP and the Atiku/Okowa presidential ticket as the right ticket to support in the 2023 presidential elections, as it addresses all the concerns of inclusiveness, fairness and national cohesion” .
The Forum further recommended support for the Atiku Abubakar/Ifeanyi Okowa presidential ticket to all well-meaning Nigerians across the ethnic, sectional and religious diversities, in order to foster unity, peace, development and progress.
The committee completed its assignment and presented its report to the Forum and the report was accordingly adopted the report and resolved that the four leading political parties that were considered by the Technical Committee for the purpose of this assignment are: the All Progressives Congress (APC); the New Nigeria Peoples’ Party (NNPP); the Labour Party (LP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).
The Forum observed that the NNPP and the Labour Party have presidential tickets that are inclusive, representing religious diversity as a country populated by a dominant population of Muslims and Christians.
It was however noted that the NNPP and LP have not yet unveiled their Strategic Policy Plan for Nigerians to interrogate in less than three months to the general elections.
“And so, it is safe to say that no one except the two parties know the direction in which they intend to take the country. Nigerians cannot go into an election blind folded, especially in view of the myriad of problems bedeviling the nation,” the Forum observed.
“The All Progressives Congress (APC)as we all know has fielded the same faith (Muslim-Muslim) ticket which excludes a large demography of Christians who do not feel represented by the ticket. The APC presidential ticket does not promote inclusiveness, unity, religious harmony and cohesion. A large population of Muslims have also expressed reservations to this ticket and have called for fairness and inclusivity.
“Consequently, this ticket is rejected outright by the Forum and the Forum hereby calls on all lovers of democracy, peaceful coexistence, unity and religious harmony to reject the ticket in its entirety, ” it declared.
According to the Forum, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) presidential ticket is representative of the religious diversity as a people.
Also, the Forum said the presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar is the only candidate among the candidates of the four leading political parties that has the knowledge and experience of managing the country at the presidential level. This gives him the advantage to set the ball rolling from day one.
That the PDP presidential candidate has a track record of working harmoniously with all classes of people across religious and ethnic divides.