In a communiqué signed after a crucial meeting Friday by the Director General (DG), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Dr. Yima Sen and made available to The page, the groups described the rumour as “a total fabrication and further from the truth because it is not in the tradition of our Forum to decide for Nigerian voters any specific candidates before elections.”
The communiqué explained that, “what the Pan Northern Groups did under the chairmanship of Prof. Ango Abdullahi, was to hold series of meetings with all the presidential aspirants urging them to prune down their numbers, and unite behind a consensus candidate.”
However, the communiqué continued, that, most of the aspirants while accepting to dialogue amongst themselves, still show some unwillingness to back down, believing that their cases would rather be determined at the convention.
“The Group being a neutral advisory body, which does not want a rancorous convention and a contested primary, conceded to the aspirants with the understanding that there must be free and fair elections where the party and indeed the aspirants must unite behind any successful candidate after the primaries,” the communiqué further stressed.
The groups further reiterated that, “it is not the duty of Pan Northern Groups to anoint a presidential candidate,” stating that it is exclusively the duty of the political party, the PDP.
“Our duty is to ensure that all the candidates go to the contest as one and emerge from the primaries united and strong, in order to change the current dispensation.
“It is therefore pertinent to note that the Pan Northern Groups are neutral in all their undertakings and that their interaction with all the presidential aspirants should be seen for what it was, a patriotic duty to our country. And the aim is the pursuit of the avenues that would promote peace and development for our country,” the communiqué concluded.