Restore Level Playing Field to our Democratic System-NEF

The Northern Elders Forum had said the to ensure a peaceful poll in the coming General election, the North would work with other ethnic groups to produce a leader who is a competent and committed leader that will restore confidence in the country.

This was contained in a statement by the Forum’s spokesperson Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, on Wednesday after a meeting convened by its leader, Prof. Ango Abdullahi.

Recall that the group had been canvassing for a Nothern President ahead of the race. The Forum said the main opposition, Peoples Democratic Party and the ruling All Progressives Congress dominated the political landscape, adding that Nigerians would benefit from additional options.

The meeting was also suggested that the scrapping of the State Independent National Electoral Commissions should be included in the ongoing constitutional amendment.

The statement reads partly, “The Forum salutes all Nigerians who toiled to restore a level playing field to our democratic system. It is now left to politicians and other leaders to conduct the type of politics that builds into it tangible equity, fairness, competence and justice, through inclusive campaigns and a responsible approach towards the 2023 elections.

The people of the North want to work with other Nigerians to produce a competent and committed Nigerian leadership that will restore confidence in our country’s capacity to survive and rebuild itself for the next generations.”

“The NEF looks forward to the emergence and consolidation of other parties in the political environment. The continued existence of State Electoral Commissions which conduct elections into local government councils is damaging the democratic process. The NEF advises that the ongoing constitutional amendments should include the scrapping of these commissions and the assumption of their duties by INEC.”

They also called on Nigerians, especially northerners, to register and prepare to vote for new and more competent leaders in the next general elections.

“The Forum took note of the worsening security situation in the country. Boko Haram insurgency continues to be a significant threat in the North-East, while kidnapping and large scale banditry in many other parts of the North are taking over the lives of large portions of the population.

The IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) threatens to eradicate the influence of legitimate authority in the South-East. Politicians and influential people are worsening the nation’s fault lines by seeking political advantages through threats to our unity and peaceful co-existence.

“Poverty and poor governance are fueling widespread alienation from mainstream social existence.

“The Forum joins the nation in its outrage over the fact that Maiduguri, Borno State capital, has been without power from the national grid for ten months and is alarmed by signs that its population could be forced to resign to living with this additional assault on their lives and livelihood. This situation must be reversed at all costs.

“The planned closure of Internally Displaced Persons’ camps should be carefully considered so that it does not place more victims in avoidable peril.

The Forum further said it would not label bandits as terrorists, except it would improve security.

“The Forum regrets that the argument over labelling bandits as terrorists is a waste attention and energy. If labeling bandits as terrorists will substantially improve the capacity of the Nigerian state to eliminate this expanding scourge, the Forum supports it without reservation,” the statement added.

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