Thursday, 8 March 2018

2019: We Will Run A Thorough Check On All Presidential Candidates - Northern Elders

Northern leaders on Wednesday said they would run a thorough check on all political candidates before supporting any contestant for the 2019 presidential election. The statesmen, under the aegis of the Northern Leaders and Stakeholders Assembly, said they would wait for various political parties to present their candidates. The NLSA stated this in Abuja at the inauguration of its standing committees, which it said, would, among others objectives, build a strong political force for the North.

Elder statesman and Chairman of the group, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai, said northern leaders would only support a presidential candidate after considering all the candidates put forward by the various political parties. He said, "There's a provision for adopting candidates for elections either for presidential, governorship or local government chairmanship poll. So far, we have not seen that happened to President Muhammadu Buhari following his rumoured second term bid. Until that is done, any adoption by state chapters of his party is not legal.

The constitutions of the APC and other political parties have not provided for the executives of the parties to nominate candidates. It's only the convention. "Our organisation's doors are open to all. We are not here for a particular political party. When political parties adopt their candidates and we have assessed them, we will know who to support” On whether the NLSA would work for the President in 2019, Yakasai asked, "Who told you that the party has adopted him as the candidate ?”

When told that the APC was working towards that, he said, "If the party is working towards that, it has not decided. "Without knowing who is the candidate how will you know whether to support A, B or C? We will wait until we know all the candidates before we decide "The main objective of the organisation is to promote the unity and well being of our people and together with other patriotic Nigerians to evolve a national blueprint that will address various problems confronting our nation'” he said.

Yakassai also identified free and fair elections as a major challenge facing Nigeria as it approached 2019 elections. He also cited security problems and herdsmen and farmers clashes as other challenges facing the country, He stated that the problems would be resolved if the President convened a summit comprising farmers, herdsmen, traditional rulers, religious leaders and political leaders. Yakasai said, "If the election is peaceful, free and fair, people will accept whoever emerges and look for solutions to these crises.

"If the President had summoned a stakeholders meeting and laid the issue before participants , some ideas would have be developed to provide direction for the government to follow.”He added the adoption of ranches instead of grazing reserves could permanently solve the clashes between the herdsmen and farmers. "I think ranching is a good idea if the whole country can adopt it” he added. The group had earlier inaugurated five committees for the 2019 presidential elections restructuring, security and other strategic areas.

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