Markurdi – The National Working Committee and state chapters of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) in the North-Central zone of the association have distanced themselves from the purported endorsement of the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), President Muhammadu Buhari, by Elders of the Forum.

The group argued that the endorsement of one of the candidates against another seeking elective positions, and who are both members of ACF would be setting a dangerous precedence.

The North Central zone of the ACF comprise Benue, Plateau, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kwara and Federal Capital Territory (FCT)

Rt Hon. Sule Audu, a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC), of ACF who disclosed this at a press briefing in Makurdi on Wednesday, noted that it was wrong for elders of the forum to have endorsed President Buhari.

He advised members of the forum to disregard the call by elders of the forum and vote candidates of their choice in Saturday’s elections.

Audu who is also a member of the Politics Committee of the ACF said, “I have the mandate of members of ACF from the North Central zone to speak on behalf of the North Central zone, which is one of the zones that form part of the North and have a large membership of the ACF holding national and state positions.

“It was on the news and social media that ACF has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari as their presidential candidate and I have the mandate of my people to dissociate the North-Central chapter of the organisation from that endorsement, considering the aim and purpose of the ACF.”

According to Audu a section of the ACF Constitution states: “We the people of the North have come together on this day, 7th day of March, 2000 to create a non partisan, non-religious, non-ethic Forum and to give unto ourselves this Constitution for the purpose of promoting the ideals, aims, and objectives of the Forum.”

He therefore observed that, “If that is what is in this Constitution I have read, then, it is completely wrong for the Forum to endorse a candidate for a particular election of which we have so many Northerners who are from the North and are contesting for the same position and moreso, it is against the Constitution of the ACF.

“The ACF is made up of different people from the North at the management and state levels and they all belong to different politics parties. So for some elders to gather themselves at the ACF secretariat, that was furnished by the former Vice President of Nigeria, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for the benefits of the whole North, who along with President Buhari is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Forum” is wrong.

His argument, “We from the North Central, sense a kind of division, within the ACF, when some groups will endorse a candidate in the North, who is a member of the Board of Trustee and will not endorse another candidate, who is also a member of the same Board.”

While he insisted that the action would send a wrong signals to it’s members, he called on all members of the Forum to vote candidates of their choice, particular those that would protect their interests.

Audu, pointed out, “What signal are we sending to the whole North; that we are not united; that we are partisan; that we are selfish; that we are religious, which is against the objectives of what ACF stands for.

“So, in that regard, in consultation with the management and the whole North Central, which is also part of the North, we completely disassociate from that endorsement.

“We are urging all Northerners, especially the North Central people to go out on Saturday and vote for any candidate, whom they think can take us out of this mess, where we are today; that can bring peace to the North; that can ensure the security of the Northern people; that can bring development to the North; that will ensure Nigerians are treated equally, irrespective of religion, political association and ethnic background
“So, we are urging all the people of North Central to look at all the candidates and assess them and vote for one who will ensure the people of the zone sleep with their eyes closed, go about their normal business without fear of being kidnapped or murdered.

“Let the electorate choose who they want and vote for who has the capacity and ability to bring peace and unity to the North.

“Therefore everybody from the North Central should not obey that endorsement that was made by a group of elders in Kaduna at the ACF secretariat
“That is the stand of the ACF, North central chapter and I also have the mandate of all the National Working Committee members and state chapters of the Forum to speak on their behalf. That is our position”, he stated.