The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) Sunday accused other ethnic groups of promoting religious and ethnic division in the build-up to the 2015 elections.
Pointing to Chief Edwin Clark and others, as promoters of such groups, the spokesperson of the ACF, Mr. Anthony Sani, said Clark as an elder and a nationalist should know what such division could do to the unity, stability, harmony and peace of Nigeria.
The forum noted that a president, who is elected by only a section of the country cannot reasonably be expected to bring Nigerians together and help them live up their synergistic potential.
“That is to say, a president cannot preside over a divided people and expects to succeed.
“And that explains why our chairman has encouraged exchanges of visits among sister organisations across the nation in furtherance of spirit of dialogue needed to dispel misconceptions by breaking barriers and building bridges needed to enhance the unity and stability of not only the North but for the whole country, since the strength and unity of the country come with trust and confidence as well as with social contract,” he said.
The ACF was reacting to stories carried by some national dailies, alleging that the forum’s chairman, Alhaji Aliko Mohammed, during it last meeting in Kaduna, had frowned at voting across regional lines.
Sani said: “It would be uncharitable for anybody to interpret the remarks by the chairman to mean all northern voters must vote only northern candidates and all southern voters must vote only southern candidates in 2015.This is because the chairman is in the know of the trite that such approach to politics can divide the country along regional lines that contradict what he stands for and promote a united, strong Nigeria that is socially diverse, economically empowered and politically active.
“It bears repeating to say ACF has said it over and over again that when the time comes for politics, candidates from the regions or zones should be able to campaign for acceptance across the nation and not in their regions or zones alone. That is how democracy can help strengthen the unity, stability and harmony of the Nigerian project, “he adds.
On the visit of General Lawrence Onoja (rtd) and Senator Wash Pam, who were among the leaders of minority ethnic extractions at the instance of Clark that paid a courtesy visit on President Goodluck Jonathan and urged him to stand for re-election in 2015, Sani said the chairman of ACF knew that people have the right to associate, hold opinions and change their minds
“Members of ACF have the right to change their minds, including decamping across political parties. And that is why the change of mind which manifested during the elections into the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF) should not be allowed to factionalise both the forum and the Northern States Governors’ Forum the way they have been factionalised,” he said.