The Northern Elders Forum has tackled the leader of Afenifere cultural organisation, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, over his choice of words in campaigning for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi.
In a statement on Thursday, signed by the Director, Publicity and Advocacy of the Northern Elders Forum, Dr Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, the Forum said the unity and survival of Nigeria are not dependent on politicians who think they can intimidate citizens, or instigating actions that will subvert a credible election and a peaceful transition to the next administration.
The statement read: “Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has reviewed the preparations for the forthcoming elections, particularly in light of recent developments and its planned Northern General Assembly.
“The Forum took note of the comments of Chief Ayo Adebanjo, leader of one of the Afenifere organizations. In his usual rantings, this time in campaigning for Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party, he said, among other inflammatory outbursts, that if Nigerians do not elect his candidate, it will be the end of Nigeria. This statement is, to say the least, irresponsible and condemnable. It is the worst thing that can be said in promoting a candidate, but that is the business of the candidate. We do not believe that Chief Adebanjo’s reckless outburst reflects the quality or essence of the Obi/Datti ticket.
“The Forum advises people like Chief Adebanjo to attempt to behave more responsibly. These elections will not be won by threats and insults. Nigerians will not be scared from exercising their choices freely. The unity and survival of Nigeria are not dependent on politicians who think they can intimidate citizens, or instigating actions that will subvert a credible election and a peaceful transition to the next administration.
“The North is committed to supporting a credible election under peaceful conditions and will support any candidate who emerges as leader through it. It appeals to leaders, elders, politicians and the authorities to resist inciting particularly young Nigerians who are more gullible and exposed to dangerous rhetorics.
“If there are Nigerians with any influence over Chief Adebanjo, they should advise him to show respect for his age and all the advantages he enjoys from being a Nigerian.”