The north will not support a candidate who seeks to benefit from strategies that exploit the ethnic and religious diversity of the zone in 2023, Ango Abdullahi, chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said on Thursday.
Abdullahi, who spoke at a book launch in Kaduna, said the zone will support leaders who will lead with integrity, competence, compassion, and the fear of God.
According to him, the north will be more critical about who wins its support for the 2023 elections, noting that the region has borne the brunt of religious and ethnic conflicts and has had enough.
“We will not support a candidate that fails to convince that he will radically improve the quality of governance and the integrity of leaders,” he said.
“Secondly, northerners will not be intimidated into making choices that do not improve the chances of real changes in their current circumstances.
“We will participate in all political and electoral activities as equals, and concerning other Nigerians who respect us.
“In the north, we consider attempts to create divisions and conflicts around religion as hostile acts. We have paid a high price in conflicts around religion in the north and we do not need to do more.
“We bear scars from governance by one we substantially voted into power twice.
“Northern votes will make a major impact in the 2023 elections as well, but they will be cast by people who are now wiser and more discerning.”
The NEF chairman, who recently said that Nigerians have been witnessing political campaigns aimed at causing religious and ethnic divisions, however, said that desperate politicians will not allowed to blindside the country.
“Our insecurity and collapsing economy do not discriminate between Christians and Muslims,” he added.
“We cannot seek solutions from them as Muslims or Christians. I have to state here that we are witnessing some of the crudest and most unproductive campaigns to create divisions between Hausa and Fulani people, and create distances between Christians and Muslims in the north.
“We warn that these contemptible attempts will fail because they find no support in history going back centuries, or in the recent past.
“While we differ in faith and ethnicity, history, geography, and our experiences in living as Nigerians have created roots and bonds that cannot be destroyed by desperate political gambits.”