Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed spokes person of the Northern Elders Forum has said that no presidential candidate or party will get cheap block votes without going through a rigorous process until they are convinced about who has the capacity to fix the country.
The spokesman of NEF made this statement while speaking on Politics Today, a popular programme on Channels Television.
He lamented that the northern elders made a costly mistake in 2015 when they charged the people to cast their votes to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) without requesting his blueprint.
He said, “We will subject all candidates including Atiku, Tinubu, Obi through a rigorous process and they had better be willing because, believe me, we carry the responsibility on our shoulders to advise people in the north where to go. I am not saying this to impress anybody. We will exercise that responsibility seriously.
What we promise not to do this time around was not to repeat what we did in 2015 and say ‘Vote for only Sai Baba” where we escort him to the villa but failed to sit him down and ask what he planned to do. It would no longer be about fixing the economy, security and the fight against Boko Haram, They must be specific.
“Buhari got away with it in 2015 and in 2019, we campaigned against him, saying this time he has failed and won’t be given another chance. Today, look at where the country is. We are not going to make that mistake again.”
The NEF spokesperson, however, disclosed that they are not putting a ceiling on any candidate.
He said the process will not be a walk in the park for any of the candidates.
At this stage, our options are open. We will not vote on a narrow prism like where (candidates) come from. I speak for the elders’ forum. There was no point we said only northern candidates will be considered. We don’t see the north in isolation. We see ourselves as related to other parts of Nigeria.
“I don’t know what the other parts of the country are doing but the North is not just going to vote for any candidate unless we are convinced that he has done some serious thinking about what he is going to do for this country.