The New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) has said the endorsement of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, by former House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara’s Northern Leaders Consultative Forum is a hatchet job.
It said the endorsement was a ploy by its political opponents to distract its presidential candidate, Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, from the task of rescuing the country from poverty.
NNPP rejected the assessment by Dogara and a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, that it does not have what it takes to win the presidential election and run the country.
In a communiqué by Prof. Doknan Sheni and a former Minister for Water Resources, Mukhtari Shehu Shagari, the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum had endorsed Atiku.
But addressing reporters yesterday, NNPP’s National Chairman, Prof. Ahmed Rufai Alkali, said: “We are pleased to inform you that in the last few months, the NNPP has grown from strength to strength, attracting highly respectable Nigerians. As a national movement, we have also been drawing even more mass support nationwide…
“The moves to distract our presidential candidate have taken many shapes, starting with the falsehood that he is in the race as a front for another candidate. When that false narrative failed, they said he is in the race to divide the votes of their candidate…
“The latest in the efforts to distract our presidential candidate is the ‘endorsement’ of a presidential candidate by a group calling themselves the Northern Leaders Consultative Forum (NLCF).
“As a political Party that believes in the democratic right of people to support a Candidate of their choice, it is also our right not to be dragged into an undeserving hatchet job.
“As far as NNPP is concerned, Northern Leaders Consultative Forum (NLCF) is unknown to us. And there was never a time we had any interface with the group.
“As a matter of fact, some politicians, led by former Speaker Yakubu Dogara and former SGF Babaachir Lawal came to us, sometime ago under a Christian religion banner, claiming marginalisation by their party, the APC.
“At that time, nobody ever mentioned any group called Northern Leaders Consultative Forum to us. With the benefit of hindsight, we noticed some elements of insincerity in their activities. It appears they came to NNPP on a window-shopping, desperately searching for a refuge.
“For the Yakubu Dogara and his co-travellers to turn round and accuse our party and our presidential candidate of not lying before Nigerians ‘their action plan 90 days to elections’ clearly showed that the group was working to predetermined answer.”