The presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), former Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, has rejected an invitation to attend a programme organised for presidential candidates by the Arewa joint committee.
The spokesman of the NNPP presidential campaign, in a letter dated October 14 and addressed to the organisers, said endorsing a presidential candidate ahead of the 2023 general elections will further polarize the Northern region.
According to Kwankwaso, his decision to decline the invitation hinged on alleged plans by the committee to endorse “a particular northern candidate.”
He pointed out that besides the fact that the date given was not convenient, NNPP had credible information that the event had been compromised.
The statement reads: “We have credible information in our possession that shows that some people have been compromised and these people have concluded plans to turn the event into an endorsement platform for a particular candidate,” the letter reads.
“We believe that it is very wrong for any group to clandestinely plan to endorse any candidate in the name of the North, especially when we have more than one candidate from our region.
“We are therefore advising you not to do anything that will ridicule the legacies of Sir Ahmadu Bello and other famous Northern Leaders like of Sir Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, Sir Kashim Ibrahim, and JS Tarka, etc. by attempting to endorse an unpopular candidate at the expense of a more competent, more experienced and more credible one.
“We note that the earlier date was even postponed and a new date was fixed to coincide with the date of the rally of one of the presidential candidates in Kaduna.
“This further gives credence to the information in our possession that the event is being financed by that candidate.
“In the circumstance, and based on the above observations, our candidate will be unable to honour your invitation.”
But in a swift reaction to the allegation, the secretary general of ACF, Murtala Aliyu said the claims are baseless, challenging the NNPP to produce evidence to corroborate their claim.
He stated, “We received their letter. First of all, he said he is not participating in the dialogue because it coincided with other engagements.
“We are not calling them to endorse any candidate. I think that accusations like this are a bit weighty.
“I have not seen any candidate one on one. I have not received any donations from any candidate one on one or collectively or formally or informally.
“I was taken aback when I saw it. The six groups (that made up the Joint Arewa Committee) pooled resources together to organise the programme.
“So, if anybody has given anything, I am not aware of it and it has not come to my notice. Our groups are multi-partisan; some people are in LP; some are in PDP, APC, NNPP, and so on. So, you can’t endorse any candidate.”
Naija News reports that the committee, comprising the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Sir Ahmadu Bello Foundation (ABF), Arewa Research and Development Project, and Jamiyyar Matan Arewa had invited some presidential candidates for an interactive session in Kaduna.
The programme, which started on Saturday, was attended by Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Abiola of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), and Adewale Adeboye of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).
Presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), and the NNPP candidate are also expected to attend the event in Kaduna today, Monday.