By Isaiah Benjamin, Kaduna
The apex northern socio-cultural group, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday profusely frowned at the position of a Pro-Buhari group from Kano under the aegis of Muhammadu Buhari legacy Implementation Initiatives, which urged that the North must ensure that 2019 presidency, does not go to any candidate other than President Muhammadu Buhari.
ACF not comfortable with that call, unequivocally informed the group that the forum is not a partisan group and will not allow any group to decide for the forum who to support.
This was even as another group from South-South under the umbrella of South-South Re-awakening group led by its Chairman, Mr. Joseph Ambakederimo urged northerners through ACF to reignite old political bond that existed between south and north for purpose of peaceful coexistence and development of the people and nation at large.
Earlier, Chairman, Muhammadu Buhari legacy Implementation Initiatives, Ado Mohammed, explained, “After Muhammadu Buhari was elected President in 2015, we decided that we should go round the whole country to implement Buhari’s legacies, assisting him from outside the government.
“We opted to look at his commitment, dedication, patriotism and sincerity of purpose to good governance and development of Nigeria.
“We are going to go round the 36 States of the country, beginning from Kano to mobilise for the President, we have started consultation with the 44 local government areas of Kano State, all the 434 wards are involved.
“What remains for us now is to start recruitment before the end of July, and we are calling on the management of this Forum to cooperate with us.
“After this, we will start from North East States that are considered as Buhari’s stronghold, that is, Yobe, Adamawa and Borno States.
“Then we will move to North west, where I come from, here we have more States to cover, and then we move to North central, and gradually down to South west and South South.
“We do not belong to any political party, we are just pro-Buhari, we are not in APC. As it is today, both APC and PDP are in disarray, apology to any of you that is in either party.
“We are trying to foresee what will happen in the North, we are trying to provide a launch pad for all of us. This is why we come to ACF to inform you of the existence of this Initiative for Buhari legacy.
“We are also planning to go full blast on media, we will start with freedom radio in Kano, which is the most listened to in Kano. It has over eight million listeners in Kano.
“We are directing our mobilisation campaign towards the youth because we believe that they form majority voting population in the country.
“We are expecting to mobilise 30 million people in the north for Buhari, which is about double the population that elected Mr. President into office.
“We hope that the presidency will remain in the north without going into alliance with any party, we don’t need to share power with anybody, we don’t need to consider any merger. Our fathers and mothers in ACF, this is why we come to seek your assistance and cooperation, and this is our story”.
Responding, Vice Chairman, ACF, Senator Abubakar Girei, said, “I don’t agree with you that by next election North does not need any other person, I suggest that you reconsider your position. Secondly you don’t need to tell us about Buhari’s honesty because we know that was why Nigerians voted for him. What you can do now is to bring out the legacies or achievements of Buhuri which Nigerians don’t know so that the people can appreciate him and his kind of character”.
Also, in her reaction to Pro-Buhari group, National legal Adviser of ACF, Hajiya Halima Alfa, said, “This is ACF, Arewa Consultation Forum, in our constitution we say we are not partisan, and so on, so whatever we do, we should do it in line with our constitution because here we are with Buhari legacy group urging us to vote for Buhari as President, and another time may come, and we may not know who is watching and listening, and for this body to pick Buhari as an individual to campaign for Buhari in 2017, I think it is wrong for this August body.
“I feel this is not the right place for you to extend this cause because in 2014/2015 when Buhari was coming, I will want you to note that this body ACF vouched for Buhari, and today is history, is there courtesy of all Arewa people. So I will not support according to our constitution to come here in 2017 to canvass for Buhari in 2019. This is not the right place for this.
“For what the constitution of ACF stands for, we have to be very mindful because even in 2015 when Buhari was contesting, he was not the only northern candidate, we had about four of them from Arewa.
“If any one of them should come here and say they too want to portray the legacies of whoever they stand for, then we have to listen to all. We have to be very careful and mindful of what we do”.
NEC member of ACF, Senator Joseph Waku, also reacted, saying, “This is a wrong place for your group to make a first stop, particularly for measuring two political parties in our midst. We are not here to assess political party that is strong or weak. Therefore your visit here, we welcome you democratically, freedom of speech, freedom of association, you are entitled to it.
“Having said that, Buhari became president of Nigeria because he is Buhari, it is not because of you, not because of APC, not because of PDP, it is because he is Buhari. And I keep telling Nigerians that APC did not win election, Buhari won election. And therefore, coming to lecture us about Buhari legacy, you are in wrong place.
“We should go back to our States to pray for Buhari, and after that we can talk about election. When Nigerians voted for Buhari, they didn’t know you and your group. We are not here in ACF for cheap publicity”.
However, ACF National Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie asked the political committee of the Forum to work with Pro-Buhari group to obtain whatever report they have to submit to the northern socio-cultural and pressure group.