A group under the aegis of the Coalition of Northern Groups has asked northerners to obtain permanent voter cards to enable them vote credible leaders that would address the multifarious challenges bedevilling the region.
The spokesperson for the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, made the call while addressing a news conference in Kano on Monday.
He said the call was necessary because getting Permanent Voter Cards is the surest way to ensuring good governance and leadership that could check the current security and other challenges pervading the region.
“We want to caution the North against voter apathy in the coming elections and to strongly call on northerners to register massively for Permanent Voter Cards as the only sure way of ensuring leadership that will address our limitations.
“We also note, uncomfortably, the likelihood of voter apathy in the North with the current lower participation in the ongoing update of voter registration compared to other parts of the country, hence our decision to call on eligible voters to obtain the card.
“We want to remind the northern voter to be vigilant with the direction of his voting by refusing to be pinned to political party specifics and going for candidates with pronounced credibility, competence, capacity and with the antecedent of impliedly lyrics and expressly identifying with their problems around security, the economy and education.
“We wish to also remind Nigerians of the danger of risking their collective future by not critically assessing and evaluating the credentials of the candidates presented by the parties in terms of capacity, competence, integrity, and merit before making a choice,” Suleiman said.
The group condemned in strong terms the monetisation of politics and compromise of the party delegates and called for a thorough investigation into how money was used in recent primary elections by aspirants.
He said the investigation was necessary so as to find out whether the prescribed protocols as indicated in the Electoral Act was violated or not.
“To categorically state that the operational system by which a negligible few enjoys the sole prerogative for imposing candidates on the larger majority shall never endure and must be utterly rejected,” he said.
He added that the CNG fully supported and welcomed the adoption of the popular demand for the open democratic practice of allowing all eligible candidates from every section of the country, regardless of ethnicity, religion or class, the opportunity to aspire for offices in the various political parties.
“We note, in particular, that the dubiously acquired and arrogantly expended billions of naira by aspirants in, especially, the ruling APC and its main challenger, the PDP, in bankrolling individual aspirations at all the levels, have totally monetised the primary candidates’ selection processes, automatically disqualifying men of honour, character, integrity and merit from the race for 2023 and potentially placed the hopes of this and future generations of Nigerians in the line.
“The CNG notes also, in the manner of the primaries conducted by the PDP and the APC, the foundation for a final entrenchment of a culture of making money the deciding factor in Nigerian politics that would serve the purposes of consolidating elite monopoly as well as the political exclusion of the non-elite.
“We are also worried that the glaring impunity with which aspirants to the presidential tickets of, especially, the two major parties, induced their respective party delegates has ultimately left the millions of Nigerian voters with the hard and only choice between two traditional old war horses for the presidency,” the group said.