The Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF, has denied endorsing former President Goodluck Jonathan, as its preferred candidate for the 2023 presidential election.
A chieftain of the ACF, Musa Saidu said this when he spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, in Abuja on Thursday.
Mr Saidu, also the leader of the Arewa community in South-South and South-East, was reacting to media reports stating that a Coalition of Northern Groups has endorsed Jonathan for the 2023 poll.
“There was never a time the ACF or the Northern Elders Forum, NEF, endorsed a particular aspirant for the presidential election.
“I was to say clearly that no coalition or any group has the mandate to speak for the North,” he said.
Mr Saidu said that although the group has the freedom to speak on national issues as a pressure group, it had no mandate to speak on behalf of the North.
“I actually read a statement credited to one Abdulazeez Suleiman, the spokesperson for the coalition claiming that the North has endorsed Jonathan for 2023.
“I want to say that this is not true,” he said.
According to him, it is absurd to accept the groups’ claim that there is other credible and qualified candidate than Jonathan in all the South-South and South-East states.
He said: “We have been living in the South-South for years, we are part of the politics and we know who is who in the area, Jonathan came to power by incidental political circumstances, we know his weaknesses and advantages.
“We have more credible candidates than him even within the Buhari administration, you can get them. Perhaps, the coalition’s claim was to attract monetary benefits from the former president, certainly not on the basis of truth,’’ he added.
The chieftain urged Nigerians to disregard the claim and called on the coalition to desist from speaking on behalf of the North.
“It is absolutely misleading for a group to speak on behalf of the North without any mandate, doing this is a mischief and tantamount to creating confusion among interest groups,” he said.
Mr Saidu lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for urging all interested aspirants in his cabinet to leave.