2023 Presidency: Northern Religious Leaders Divided Over Atiku, Obi

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In the build up to the 2023 presidential election, the political undercurrents engineered by the misgivings about same-faith ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) appear to have created a sharp division among the northern religious leaders.

While some northern political and religious stakeholders have endorsed the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, others have chosen the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar.

Rising from a meeting on Friday in Abuja, the Northern Elders Consultative Forum including a faction of northern Christian leaders in the APC on Friday formally adopted Atiku for the 2023 election.

This is coming a week after a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, a leader of the APC northern Christians bloc, issued a statement on behalf of the group, endorsing Peter Obi and his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.

READ ALSO: Babachir Lawal Spoke Too Early On Obi Endorsement – Dogara
Prime Business Africa reports that, in a statement titled, “Why we have chosen to endorse the Obi/Datti ticket”, Lawal had said Obi was chosen after painstakingly reviewing and analysing the alternative candidates.

The former SGF noted that the APC same-faith ticket was to deride Christians and that the duo of Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima were not prepared to rescue the country from ‘misgovernance.’

However, former speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, also a member, consequently reacted, accusing Lawal of speaking too early on the matter and that the group was yet to make its position public.

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READ ALSO: Babachir Lawal Spoke Too Early On Obi Endorsement – Dogara

Both Dogara and Lawal have at different fora, criticised the choice of two persons of the same faith in the APC presidential ticket for the 2023 election, but the party said it doesn’t matter.

While announcing their decision to support Atiku, the northern group said it had duly considered the candidates and political party structure and found PDP presidential flag bearer as having more chances of victory.

This is the latest fallout of the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket.

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 Nunge Mele, a senior lawyer.

The group said the APC government has over the years earned a negative perception of Nigerians which makes it difficult for the party to emerge victorious.

It also claimed that LP does not have adequate structure across the states to swing into victory in the 2023 polls.

Part of the resolution read, “the unfortunate self-inflicted divisive same-faith-ticket which cannot guarantee the desired peace, unity and cohesion in Nigeria, a decision that has been kicked against by a huge population of Nigerians.

“The seven and a half years of the APC government has engendered wide spread national perception of its inability to tackle security challenges and turn around the national economy.

“A further compounding albatross on its neck is the unfortunate self-inflicted divisive same-faith-ticket which cannot guarantee the desired peace, unity and cohesion in Nigeria, a decision that has been kicked against by a huge population of Nigerians.

“The perception that the APC Presidential candidate has some health challenges makes people very uncomfortable. There is the fear that it may precipitate a situation where unelected surrogates will be running the government while the president left attending to his health.”

Hon. Dogara joined other members of the Forum of Christian and Muslim Political Leaders from the north to adopt Atiku.

Observers have said Lawal’s earlier endorsement of Obi could have resulted in his sensing where the likes of Dogara was tilting to.

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