Northern Group Denies Asking Buhari, Atiku Not To Seek Re-Election

Contrary to reports, northern groups have denied asking President Muhammadu Buhari against seeking a re-election in 2019.

The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) on Wednesday also denied asking former Vice President Atiku Abubakar not to contest presidential election.

The group described the report as misrepresentation.

Mr Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, spokesman of CNG, said in a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday that the CNG did not discuss individual aspiration at its two-day summit in Kaduna as reported in the media.

According to him, the communiqué only highlighted its support for structural reforms with condition that only youths between ages 18 and 60 should represent the North.

“The attention of the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has been drawn to certain misrepresentations of parts of its communiqué of May 21, 2018 by a section of the media.

“While we do not want to believe that the misrepresentations, though very fundamental, were maliciously made, we nevertheless owe the public a duty to straighten the records.

“At the end of our two-day summit at Arewa House, Kaduna, a five-page communiqué was read by our spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, in which we categorically stated that the North fully supports the restructuring of the country and shall be prepared to represent itself in any debate thereon.

“Our coalition said the North supported structural reforms, with certain conditions,’’ he said.

According to him, one of the terms is that those who will carry the banner to any future discussion with regard to Nigerian federal arrangement should be within the 18 to 60 years bracket.

“We said this out of a patriotic conviction that the older men who have been speaking and running the country since independence should cease to take the front seats at such national discourses.

“The coalition was, however, quite surprised by some reports by a section of the media, tending to suggest that we have asked certain aspirants to the 2019 presidency to shelve their ambition.

“We wish to respond here that at no time did the individual aspiration of any politician ever come up at our two-day summit nor was it mentioned anywhere in the communiqué we read.

“Our summit and subsequent communiqué essentially concentrated on the issue of restructuring. Nowhere, and at no time, did we discuss such matters as the 2019 presidency,’’ Suleiman said.

He said that the summit was sequel to calls from several quarters in the last six months asking for our position on the issue of restructuring.

Suleiman said the group answered those calls by mandating a committee to sample the pulse of Northern Nigeria in that respect.

He said that the committee, after contacting stakeholders across all shades of interest in the region, reported that the North favoured restructuring of the country.

“Consequently, we called for the summit at which participants unanimously confirmed North’s support for total and holistic structural reform.

“A communiqué was issued to that effect, devoid of the slightest hint at partisanship or 2019 elections, nor did we discuss the individual aspiration of any politician,’’ he added.

He advised media practitioners in the country to stick to their professional ethics of accurate reporting of events and avoid unnecessary sensational “overkill.’’

NAN reports that a section of the media on Monday reported that CNG asked Buhari and Abubakar not to contest for president in 2019.

CNG’s position was reported to be contained in a communiqué issued at the end of its two-day summit in Kaduna. (NAN)

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