After several months of political consultations, the Northern Elders Consultative Forum, including the Christian leaders in the All Progressives Congress in the North, on Friday formally pledged its support for the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, for the 2023 election.
It explained that Atiku was adopted as its candidate following the resolution of the northern Christian leaders to work with their Muslim counterparts to adopt one of the presidential candidates in a bid to defeat the same-faith presidential ticket of the APC.
A former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, who had been a member of the group, had endorsed the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed.
Lawal had said Obi was endorsed after painstakingly reviewing and analysing the alternative candidates.
But a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and other members of the group distanced themselves from the endorsement, saying they had yet to conclude consultations and that their position would be made public.
However, making their position known at an event in Abuja on Friday, a former Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Simon Achuba, while reading the report of the technical criteria committee set up by the leaders, said Atiku was adopted after due consideration of the report of the technical criteria committee set up by the leaders.
Apart from Dogara and Achuba, other northern leaders at the meeting were a former governor of Kogi State, Idris Wada; and a former Minister for Water Resources, Mukhtar Shagari.
The report was signed by its Chairman and former Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Mohammed Kumaila, and a legal practitioner, Nunge Mele (SAN).