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Tinubu group tackles Dogara, northern leaders over Atiku's endorsement

The group accused Dogara, Lawal, and other members of the Northern Elders Consultative Forum of pursuing personal interests.

APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
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The group, known as Mun Gani A Kasa Sai Tinubu, insisted that Dogara and other members of the NECF were not fighting for fairness, equity, and justice as they claimed.

This comes barley 24hours after Dogara and other members of the NECF announced their endorsement of Atiku for the 2023 presidency.

According to the group, Atiku was chosen after a careful evaluation of the prevailing situation in the country, which prompted the Northern Christian leaders to work with their Muslim counterparts in the North, to adopt one of the presidential candidates in a bid to defeat the same-faith presidential ticket of the APC next year.

Recall that barely a week ago, the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF ), Babachir Lawal, who had been a member of the NECF, announced a similar endorsement for the Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi and his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.

Tinubu group reacts: However, in his reaction, the Chairman of Mun Gani A Kasa Sai Tinubu, Shehu Abdulrahman, urged Nigerians to disregard any pronouncement from Dogara and Lawal.

In a statement released on Saturday, December 3, 2022, Abdulrahman stated that the NECF and the former SGF were only fighting for their selfish interests, especially the latter who, he said, can't come to terms with Tinubu's decision to overlook him for the running mate slot.

The statement read: "We wish to remind Nigerians that the decision of the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and his co-travellers in the Northern Elders Consultative Forum to endorse the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, for president has no bases in fairness, equity, and justice as the group deceitfully claimed.

"If indeed Dogara and his co-travellers are altruistic about the course they are championing, how can they in good faith justify their endorsement of another Northern Muslim as their preferred candidate knowing full well that our President, Muhammadu Buhari, also bears the same characteristics as a Northern Muslim. Where is the justice and equity?

"Except the Northern Elders Consultative Forum was trying to send a message to Nigerians that only Northerners are entitled to rule the country. It's even more baffling to imagine that the group failed to factor in the current agitations in different regions of the country, which is one of the reasons our party decided to zone the presidential ticket to the South for fairness and balance.

"It was in recognition of these various agitations and other considerations that all the APC governors from the North insisted before the party's convention that the unwritten principle of power rotation between the North and the South must be preserved.

"So, if at all there's any presidential candidate that emerged through a process guided by the principles of equity, justice, and fairness, it's no other than Tinubu.

"It's important to restate at this point that our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has no intention to either pursue any Islamisation agenda or Islamise the country as being mischievously suggested. Just as he explained to leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria during a recent interactive session with them, Tinubu has demonstrated over the years that he's religious tolerance as evident in his wife and children who, out of their free will, have chosen to practice Christianity.

"We wonder if our candidate didn't use his patriarchal influence to coerce his children and wife into practising the same faith with him, how then would he able to achieve that in a multi-religious country as Nigeria or how he will be able to change the provision of the Nigerian constitution that recognises and protects religious pluralism.

"We were convinced to believe that Tinubu's explanation to CAN leaders, who had earlier expressed their disapproval of any same-faith ticket, may have influenced the pronouncement of the apex Christian body that Nigerians should cast their votes based on their conscience and not religious affiliation.

"Therefore, if the highest authority of Christianity in Nigeria had taken such a position, there is a need to question the motive of any group which claims to be fighting for the interest of Nigerian Christians.

"For the sake of emphasis, the decision of Asiwaju to chose Kashim Shettima as his running mate remains one that was made purely based on political calculations and competence. As our candidate has said repeatedly, Shettima as Governor of Borno State performed creditably well and would bring his experience to bear in helping our candidate actualise his vision for Nigeria.

"We want Nigerians to be aware that the decision of Dogara and the former Secretary General to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, to endorse other presidential candidates was made out of bitterness which stemmed from Tinubu's refusal to pick any of them as his running mate."

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