A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof Attahiru Jega, and spokesman of the Northern Elders Forum, Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, have thrown their weights behind the presidential candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party, Kola Abiola, to win the 2023 presidential election.
Both Jega and Baba-Ahmed strongly expressed their conviction at PRP’s ‘Manifesto Debate and Mobilization Drive’ programme in Abuja on Saturday.
The NEF image maker had appeared on ‘Politics Today,’ a popular programme on Channels Television about a month ago claiming the forum would subject candidates of various political parties seeking the votes of the north to a rigorous interrogation exercise until they were convinced about their capacity to fix the country.
According to him, the northern elders made a terrible mistake in 2015 when they charged the people to cede their bloc votes to the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) without requesting his blueprint.
The development is also coming barely five days after Kola, heir to the acclaimed winner of June 12, 1993 election, MKO Abiola, promised Nigerians that he would not bring the baggage of past administrations and recycled politicians into governance when elected.
The 60-year-old business mogul gave the assurance when he participated in the Arise TV presidential debate at Transcorp Hilton in Abuja.
While describing himself as a breath of fresh air with no record of holding public offices in Nigeria, Kola stated that he would prove the bookmakers wrong by winning the 2023 presidential election on the platform of PRP.
Endorsing his candidature on Saturday, Jega mocked those saying that 2023 presidential would be a three-horse race.
He said, “There is no doubt that people will say all sorts of things, many of which are just laughable. In my cultural adage, there is a saying that you don’t know who eats the most until the soup is finished.
“I can tell you that our candidate, Kola Abiola, is a very strong and focused candidate. He is quite dynamic and has a lot of intellectual capacity. With his experience, I think he stands taller than any of the candidates contesting for elections.”
The former INEC boss, who disclosed that he is a proud member of the party, added that the PRP is more than capable to produce the next set of leaders that could resuscitate the country.
“We believe in our party, the PRP whose ideology is clear. It is a people-oriented party with committed, selfless and capable candidates who can go into elective positions. That is what Nigeria needs at this moment in order to bring substantive changes,” he said.
In the same vein, Baba-Ahmed also drummed support for the son of the late business mogul, saying he has the capacity and experience to lead the PRP into the Presidential Villa in 2023.
The NEF spokesman also charged the party members and candidates to work hard and ensure that they win every available seat in public office in next year’s poll.
“We are in the PRP because we know it can win the presidential election and form the next government. We have the people, ideas and we know that the opposition is not better than us.
“In fact, we have the best team for the presidential candidate, his running mate and the governorship flag bearers. And we are begging them to please carry our flag and take us to the Villa. If we don’t win this election, it is not because the opposition is better than us or that Nigerians prefer money politics to ours. It is because we did not work hard for it.
“Tell your members that we are in this to win. We are serious about forming the government in 2023.”