President Muhammadu Buhari’s bid to contest for the second-term has been dealt a huge blow as the Arewa Consultative Forum is withholding its support ahead of 2019 general election.
The Muhammadu Buhari Legacy Implementation Initiatives on Monday, approached the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) to ensure President Muhammadu Buhari wins a second term in 2019.
The pro-Buhari group, during a visit to the ACF secretariat in Kaduna, yesterday, caused a drama when it told the ACF that the North must ensure that the 2019 presidency does not go to any candidate other than President Buhari.
Chairman of the group, Ado Mohammed, earlier explained: “After Muhammadu Buhari was elected president in 2015, we decided that we should go round the whole country to implement his legacies, assisting him from outside the government.
“We opted to look at his commitment, dedication, patriotism and sincerity of purpose to good governance and development of Nigeria. We are going to go round the 36 states of the country, beginning from Kano, to mobilise for the president, we have started consultation with the 44 local government areas of Kano State, all the 434 wards are involved.
“What remains for us now is to start recruitment before the end of July, and we are calling on the management of this Forum to cooperate with us.
“After this, we will start from the North- East states that are considered as Buhari’s stronghold, that is, Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states.
“Then, we will move to North-West, where I come from. Here, we have more states to cover, and then, we move to the North-Central, and gradually down to the South-West and the South-South.
However, in a swift reaction, the vice chairman of ACF, Senator Abubakar Girei, said: “I don’t agree with you that by next election the North does not need any other person, I suggest that you reconsider your position.
“Secondly, you don’t need to tell us about Buhari’s honesty because we know that was why Nigerians voted for him. What you can do now is to bring out the legacies or achievements of Buhari which Nigerians don’t know so that the people can appreciate him and his kind of character.”
Also in her reaction to the pro-Buhari group, the National Legal Adviser of ACF, Hajiya Halima Alfa, said: “This is Arewa Consultative Forum. In our constitution, we say we are not partisan, and so on, so whatever we do, we should do it in line with our constitution because here we are with Buhari Legacy group, urging us to vote for Buhari as president, and another time may come, and we may not know who is watching and listening, and for this group to pick Buhari as an individual to campaign for in 2017, I think it is wrong for this August body.
“I feel this is not the right place for you to extend this course because in 2014/2015 when Buhari was coming, I will want you to note that this body, ACF, vouched for Buhari, and today, he is there courtesy of all Arewa people. So, I will not support, according to our constitution, to come here in 2017 to canvass for Buhari against 2019. This is not the right place for this.
“Because of what the constitution of ACF stands for, we have to be very mindful, because even in 2015 when Buhari was contesting, he was not the only northern candidate, we had about four of them from Arewa.
“If any one of them should come here and say they too want to portray the legacies of whoever they stand for, then we have to listen to all. We have to the very careful and mindful of what we do.”
However, chairman of the pro-Buhari group explained further: “We do not belong to any political party, we are just a pro-Buhari group; we are not in APC. As it is today, both APC and PDP are in disarray, apology to any of you that is in either party.
“We are trying to foresee what will happen in the North, we are trying to provide a launch pad for all of us. This is why we came to ACF to inform you of the existence of this Initiative for Buhari’s legacy.
“We are expecting to mobilise 30 million people in the North for Buhari, which is about double the population that elected him into office.
“We hope that the Presidency will remain in the North without going into alliance with any party. We don’t need to share power with anybody, we don’t need to consider any merger. Our fathers and mothers in ACF, this is why we came to seek your assistance and cooperation, and this is our story.”
The NEC member of ACF, Senator Joseph Waku, also reacted, saying: “This is a wrong place for your group to make a first stop, particularly, for measuring two political parties in our midst. We are not here to assess political party that is strong or weak. Therefore, your visit here, we welcome you democratically because freedom of speech, freedom of association, you are entitled to them.
“Having said that, Buhari became president of Nigeria because he is Buhari, it is not because of you, not because of APC, not because of PDP, it is because he is Buhari. And I keep telling Nigerians that APC did not win that election, Buhari won the election. And therefore, coming to lecture us about Buhari’s legacy, you are in the wrong place.
“We should go back to our states to pray for Buhari, and after that, we can talk about election. When Nigerians voted for Buhari, they didn’t know you and your group. We are not here in ACF for cheap publicity.”
However, the ACF National Chairman, Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, asked the political committee of the Forum to work with the pro-Buhari group to obtain whatever report they have to submit to the northern sociocultural and pressure group.