A northern pressure group under the aegis of Northern Youth Leaders Forum (NYLF) has denied any link with the presidential ambition of Peter Obi noting that it is totally poised to ensure the victory of former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar.
Recall that Atiku emerged the flagbearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) last week.
Addressing newsmen in Yola, Friday, Comrade Elliot Afiyo, National President of NYLF said, the support of his 42 million man group remains with Atiku contrary to wild speculations by the rumour mill.
“You may recall that the NYLF shifted her political allegiance and support from Governor Bala Mohammed to Alh. Atiku Abubakar on 26th March, 2022 when the entire National officers paid a courtesy call on Atiku and consequently decorated him and High Chief Dokpesi with the golden and silver swords respectively, thereby surrendering and pledging totally, our allegiance and loyalty to Atiku Abubakar whether for good or bad.
“It is therefore not true that the NYLF has withdrawn her support for Atiku Abubakar as being peddled by a section of the press especially the southern online bloggers that NYLF endorses Peter Obi.
“It is our strong belief and conviction that Peter Obi has the intellect and economic know-how but lacks the political will to take though decisions and popular appeal especially in the rural North.
“We want to state clearly that the NYLF is hundred percent behind Atiku Abubakar,” Afiyo said.
The national president also disclosed that former president Olusegun Obasanjo is wholeheartedly behind PDP and its presidential candidate in 2023 adding that the former president has assured him and his group of his unalloyed support to Atiku’s presidential ambition.
“We want to unequivocally state that former President Olusegun Obasanjo has assured us of his strong and unflinching support for the PDP and her presidential candidate Alh. Atiku Abubakar.
“It is true that Chief Obasanjo was initially of the opinion that the next president in 2023 should come from the south especially the south-east.
“But he equally observed that what and who Nigeria needs as the president in 2023 is somebody that has the political will, knows the intrigues and intricacies of the Nigerian politics in general and the Northern political scheming, political manipulations and the emerging dynamic political trends and above all, the boldness and courage needed to face the national issues, take tough decisions, change the status and challenging the powers that be to ensure justice, equality, equity and sense of belonging.
“This for sure, Chief Obasanjo is not unmindful of. From all indications, and available political indices, only Atiku Abubakar possesses these qualities.
It is in this direction thereof, Chief Obasanjo clearly stated that he and other members of the Circuit, had decided to unanimously endorsed and support the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the PDP,” he said.
Further dissecting the rationale why his group won’t support Peter Obi, Afiyo said, “Labour Party will never form a national government where PDP and APC exist no matter how best their candidate is.
“Peter Obi is not even known amongst the rural north where 70% of votes come from, not to talk of being elected by them. We ought to know that elections are not and will never be won through online or public opinion in Nigeria because those that determine the winners are not in the urban areas.
It is therefore unimaginable to say for a least, that Chief Obasanjo will think of supporting Peter Obi.
“Chief Obasanjo and his Circuit have said it time without number, that 2023 will be the best season for them to correct whatever errors or mistakes committed by the founding fathers and their generation. It is the best time to right the wrongs.
“We want to advice that Chief Obasanjo is a noble voice that erects, exerts and attracts respect especially in the entire North and as such should not be used for propaganda.”
While reacting to the position of Ohanaeze Ndigbo on the ambition of Atiku, Afiyo urged the socio cultural organization against making outbursts capable of inflaming sectarian passion among Nigerians.
“We strongly observed with great dismay, the pronouncements made by the Ohaneze Ndi Igbo president which was followed by the pronouncement of the president of the youth wing.
While acknowledging the fact that there is a great injustice in the nation especially to the South – East region, nevertheless, we want to say that this is not the time for hard-line, provocative and offensive pronouncements.
“We are of the opinion that these pronouncements are insensitive and unexpected of genuine patriots of Nigeria more so that it is now time to unite and form a common front to confront the demons and idols in human forms that are bent in destroying our nation.
“Atiku Abubakar may not be the Joshua that will take us to the promised land but definitely he is the Moses that will free us from the wicked grip of slave masters and taskmasters and subsequently take us out of Egypt to crossing the red sea.
“From Atiku’s pronouncements and antecedents, we would rightly conclude that he is ever determined and courageously committed to the freedom, unity, and peaceful coexistence of Nigerians irrespective of tribal, ethnic or religious affiliations as demonstrated by him in 1999 and 2003.
“Putting into consideration the present political permutations, it would be concluded and sensibly too, that the South-East are closer to the presidency if Atiku is elected in 2023 than allowing the South-South or South-West to get the presidency in 2023.
“To this end, we sincerely advice our Ohaneze Ndi Igbo and all the Igbos to reconsider their stand towards Atiku Abubakar so as to get the presidency in time soonest.
“The support of the South-East to PDP in 2023 will surely determine whether or not, the south-east will be supported by the Northern region in the nearest future elections. If at all the south-west believes in power rotation or justice to the south, no one from the south-west will make any move or efforts to aspire for the 2023 presidency.
A word is enough for our wise men from the East,” he said.
On the conversation of who Atiku should pick as running mate Afiyo said, “it is
our firm belief that the mistakes and errors made or committed by the PDP and Atiku Abubakar in 2019 should be avoided at all cost.
“We observed strongly that the choice of both running mate and the Director General of Atiku Campaign Organization, led to the lukewarm attitude of the stakeholders and the masses especially the elites who despite the fact that Atiku won the election, yet, they decided not to stop the APC’s massive rigging, defend the votes or oppose the results declared by INEC especially in Kano, Borno, Katsina, Osun and Lagos States.
“In lieu of this thereof, we strongly advice that the choice of Atiku’s running mate in 2023 should be carefully and diligently considered and also based on some qualities, requirements and the emerging dynamic political trends instead of historical and traditional considerations.
“The running mate to Atiku should be a man of trusted loyalty, courageous, bold and above all, somebody who believes in Atiku’s vision and mission and who cannot be easily influenced, used or swayed by others to oppose the policy trust of Atiku’s administration.
“It is our firm belief that a divided house or temporary loyalty and allegiance because of position or office, should not be considered in choosing the running mate. We are totally opposed to choosing any of the serving Governors as running mate because of the political acrimony among and between them and the possibility of political betrayals.
“There are people who strongly believe in Nigeria and Atiku’s vision among his team who started this journey and whose loyalty and allegiance could not be doubted despite threats to their lives and businesses.
“For the sake of good performance and unity which Atiku is known for (the Unifier), we strongly and genuinely recommend that one of them could be chosen if at all we want to change the narrative and restructure Nigeria.”
On the issue of Deborah Samuel, NYLF commended the former Vice President noting that his patriotic and courageous stand saved the country from going into an orgy of religious war.
“We would like to commend Atiku Abubakar for his courage, wisdom and love for humanity, peaceful co-existence and religious tolerance instead of condemning him for deleting the said tweet. we dare to say that Atiku should be commended because God has used him to avert a serious impending religious war in the country.
“Deleting the tweet by Atiku and sacking his Media Aide was timely and the best option considering the intelligence reports at our disposal as at the time the tweet was deleted because it does not only stop the altercations and vituperations which may lead to serious and more blasphemies which will eventually generate riotous violence, it also averted the planned escalation of religious violence and massive killings of Christians in Sokoto, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Adamawa, Zamfara, Kebbi and Plateau States.
“We want to put it on records that Atiku was not aware of the tweet until I drew his attention through one of his Aides and appealed to him to delete it immediately based on the intelligence reports I received from our Coordinators in Sokoto, Kano, Kaduna, Adamawa, Kebbi and Zamfara.
“Even with that decision by Atiku, the planned destruction of worship centres and business places was minimally carried out thanks to our State Coordinators and the Islamic Clerics like Gumi and others who immediately passed the decision of Atiku down the line as a result of which the the killings were averted.
“To this end, we want to express our profound gratitude to Alh. Atiku Abubakar for taking such decision in the interest of the nation.
“We also want to thank him who despite being a comfortable, settled and accomplished individual, still offered himself to serve the country so as to correct the injustices, address the fantastic corruption and stop the unwarranted and senseless shedding of blood all over the country.
“We make bold to say that Atiku Abubakar is someone who believe in the unity of Nigeria and sees Nigeria in every Nigerian.
“We sincerely thank our patrons and elders who stood firmly to ensure the victory of Atiku Abubakar and also to all members of Teecom under the leadership of High Chief Raymond Dokpesi who paid and made sacrifices for a successful awareness and primaries.
“We extend our appreciation to all former and present members members of the NYLF who served as Delegates and Gatekeepers to ensuring Atiku Abubakar’s victory.
“In conclusion, we want to reiterate our total support and commitment towards ensuring the victory of Atiku Abubakar in the forthcoming presidential election by giving him the rural north’s votes, stopping rigging by all means, protecting the votes and ensuring the proper recording and announcement of the results,” he said.