By Tony Ogbechie
The Northern Youth Elders Forum (NYEF), a pan-Arewa group has endorsed Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed, for 2023 presidency.
National Chairman of the group, Eliot Afiyo, said Mohammed was picked from among 27 prominent Nigerians who were considered as possible presidential candidates for 2023.
Speaking in a meeting held in Bauch, he said the Bauchi governor came tops during a shadow election on likely future presidents at the 27th delegates conference of NYEF in Yola, Adamawa State.
He said all 48 exco members of the group attended and voted for the governor, who is a member of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), without any dissension.
The NYEF chairman said the group took interest in Mohammed when he defeated a sitting Bauchi governor in 2007 to emerge senator. He said Mohammed again proved his popularity in 2019 when he defeated an incumbent to become Governor of Bauchi State.
“The boldness and overwhelming passion he displayed in the Senate when he promoted the Doctrine of Necessity motion that steadied the ship of state in the wake of late President Umar Yar’Ardua’s illness and brought peace to the country announced Bala Mohammed’s trajectory as a future national leader who would be needed someday. That day has come,” Afiyo said.
He said Mohmmed’s “good record of service as FCT minister; his performance showed him as the Moses who, someday, would take the country to the promised land.”
He said after due consideration of Mohammed’s sterling leadership qualities, NYEF had no doubt in endorsing him to run for the 2023 presidential election on the platform of any party of his choice.
Afiyo said the group, which also endorsed President Olusegun Obasanjo, Umar Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari when they vied for president in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015, will mobilise for Governor Mohammed to emerge victorious in 2023.
“Your Excellency should consider this as a call to duty; you cannot decline,” he said
The NYEF boss warned that if Mohammed declines to run for president in 2023, his group “would be compelled to mobilise its 4, 000-strong membership to work against Governor Mohammed, even up to his local government.”
Mohammed , in his response, said he had a feeling of fulfilment and accomplishment to note that NYEF, “after traversing the north canvassing their points and consulting widely, came to the conclusion that he earned their confidence to run for president.”
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He said even if he doesn’t run for president, he considered his nomination and endorsement a great honour not just to him, but to Bauchi and a commendable approach to leadership recruitment.
Mohammed expressed gratitude to God for the opportunities to rise to the directorate cadre in the Federal Civil Service, get elected as senator, serve as minister and later elected governor.
The governor asked the group to give him time to consult with various stakeholder groups and constituencies that make up his political family, including Bauchi people, governors, National Assembly members, former ministers with whom he served, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and more importantly, his primary constituency, the PDP at state and national levels.
“We need to build a bridge; the country is on a precipice. We need to have a vision, a roadmap that shows us where we are and where we need to go, the resources we need, not passing the buck or denigrating anybody. Then we can be sure that we are going to do it for everybody,” he said.