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Northern Christian Leaders Split As Dogara Faction Rejects Obi, Endorses Atiku

The fissure that occured few weeks ago in the Northern Christian Leaders took an unexpected turn on Friday as a faction controlled by the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, ditched the presidential candidate of the Labour Party and instead endorsed the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar.

This followed the adoption of the report of the technical committee led by a former Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Umara Kumalia, and Nunge Mele, a senior lawyer.

Dogara joined some members of the Forum of Christian and Muslim Political Leaders from the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory who came under the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum in making the announcement in what is a departure from the announcement made by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.

Lawal had announced that the Christian Leaders from the North who are members of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, had endorsed Obi as consensus candidate.

Lawal comes from Adamawa State, same as Atiku while Dogara comes from Bauchi State.

THE WHISTLER had reported Lawal as saying, “As one of the foremost critics of APC’s single-faith presidential ticket and also in deference to those who have patiently waited for our guidance as to where to pitch our tent, after a painstaking review and analysis of the alternative presidential tickets, we now wish to recommend the Obi/Datti presidential ticket,” the statement reads in part.

“Obviously, a Christian/Muslim presidency like the Obi/Datti one will be most appropriate at this stage of our political journey, more so, since we are now transiting from a Muslim/Christian presidency.

“It will also achieve the regional shift of the presidency from the current NW/SW to a SE/NW presidency as popularly being canvassed.

“This is justice; this is equity. This is political engineering at its best and one that engineers peace and harmonious co-existence of the various socio-political and religious classes of our nation.

“Nigerians should also resist the temptation of being ruled by the same set of courtiers who are recycling themselves, their children and their friends in a monarchal fashion, in and out of government to the exclusion of other segments of the society.

“Nigerians must be awake to these very dangerous campaign trends because any of the political parties that come into government by pandering to ethnic or religious sentiments may not be able to govern successfully and might further accentuate the social cleavages.

“Men of good conscience should therefore look to opportunities that unite rather than divide us. Only the Labor Party presents this opportunity.

“We, therefore, call on all patriots to labour for our country in this presidential election. Nigeria’s future is at stake in this presidential election. Obi-Datti is the only way to go. All other ways lead to perdition.”

But in a swift reaction, a faction of the Northern Christian Leaders led by Dogara rejected the endorsement promising to make its position known.

It said on Friday that after the evaluation of all the presidential candidates, Abubakar is “the best”.

The group noted that “It is evident that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is heading for implosion and extinction; hence, it cannot be the party for now and in the future, because of its rejection to embrace inclusiveness in a diverse country like Nigeria. After the 2023 elections, APC may be dead and buried as a political party,” the report reads.

“While the duo (NNPP and LP) may emerge as strong contenders in the political arena in the future, from all indications, PDP appears to be the best option to adopt and support.

“All it takes is to sustain and tackle some of the problems and challenges this country is facing.

“Certainly, with proper consultations and inclusive appointments, which is mindful of the federal character principle with a sincere consideration of diverse issues such as religious affiliation, geographical location, and ethnic identity, which many believe will enhance justice, fairness and equity, after a careful evaluation of all the issues highlighted above, we hereby recommend the adoption of the PDP to all lovers of democracy in Nigeria for the 2023 presidential election.”

The group endorsed the technical report by voice votes to endorse Atiku after it was put to it by Dogora.

After the voting exercise, the group said it received “necessary assurance from the party (PDP) to run an all-inclusive government”.

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