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We’re Against Atiku For Promising To Restructure Nigeria –ACF Secretary, Sani

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We’re Against Atiku For Promising To Restructure Nigeria –ACF Secretary, Sani

Secretary-General of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Anthony Sani, speaks with GODWIN ISENYO on a number of national issues including why the forum was against the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, in the recent election

What is your view on the just concluded general elections in the country?

I think there was a kind of improvement over the past elections. Nigerians, who have become more enlightened, helped to change what used to hold sway in the previous elections in which only big names called the shots. In a way, plutocracy and kleptocracy are giving way to democracy that is premised on triple foundation of justice, liberty and decency. Did you see what happened to those who defected from their political parties? There are some states where President Muhammadu Buhari won with a wide margin but the contests for the governorship were a different ball game. In fact, some governors might lose those states in the rerun that arose from the contests. That shows the electorate considered not just political parties but the performance and character of the candidates as well. This is heartening and healthy development for our democracy.

Before the presidential election, the ACF endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari, who is the candidate of the All Progressives Congress against a fellow northerner and candidate of the Poeples Democrtaic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. What informed this decision?

It is true that it is not the policy and practice of the ACF to endorse party candidates outright. What the forum does is to provide leadership qualities required for purposeful leadership and party manifesto of political parties and performance of candidates. This is to enable voters to make informed judgement during elections. But that does not mean when the need arises, the ACF would not endorse a candidate. You know there is always a deviation from the norm. In the extant case, the forum was of the view that inspite of some shortcomings of the APC, the ruling party, it is still the best for the country in the circumstance; moreso, that the main opposition party (PDP) made restructuring of the country and sale of the government assets its campaign mantra. This is against the fact that this country has undergone different kinds of restructuring, such as political, economic and geographical; and any further restructuring may be unhelpful. And given the fact that the past sale of government assets did not yield the desired results, the forum was not favourably disposed to any further sale of the government assets. Rather, prudent management of national resources should be what matters. After all, Lagos State is being governed under the same structure and form of government which some people believe is not working.

But the ACF had earlier said it had no preferred presidential candidate for the 2019 election. Why did the group make a sudden U-turn?

The outright endorsement of President Buhari was spurred by the need for the regime to consolidate on its performance, against the campaign by the PDP candidate to restructure the country and sell government asset such as the NNPC as well as the character of the parties concerned.

How do you react to the allegation that the ACF was heavily pressured or forced to endorse the President since the PDP candidate was endorsed by some socio-cultural bodies such as the Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Northern Elders Forum, PANDEF and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo?

The ACF was not pressured by anybody or government to endorse President Buhari. The endorsement was done after due consideration of the performance, campaign promises and strength of character of the parties concerned.

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