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2019: Arewa Coalition Denies Asking Politicians Above 70 To Abstain

Says “We did not discuss the personal political ambitions of Buhari, Atiku or any other person”

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The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has denied asking politicians above 70 years to abstain from contesting the 2019 presidential election.

Spokesman for the coalition of Northern Groups, Mr. Abdul-Azeez Suleiman said this in a statement issued on Wednesday.

News reports had claimed that the coalition asked politicians including Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar not to seek election owing to age factor.

He said, however, that the coalition said the communiqué it issued on May 21, 2018, centred on its support for the restructuring of Nigeria.

However, with a caveat that those to represent the north in any debate concerning it should not be above 60 years old.

“Our Coalition said the North supported structural reforms, with certain conditions.

“One of the terms was that those who will carry the banner to any future discussion with regards to Nigerian federal arrangement should be within the 18 to 60 years bracket.

“We said this out of a patriotic conviction that the older men who have been speaking and running the country since independence should cease to take the front seats at such national discourses.

“The Coalition was however quite surprised by some reports by a section of the media tending to suggest that we have asked certain aspirants to the 2019 presidency to shelve their ambition.

“We wish to respond here, that at no time did the individual aspiration of any politician ever came up at our two-day Summit nor was it mentioned anywhere in the communiqué we read.

“Our Summit and subsequent communiqué essentially concentrated on the issue of restructuring. Nowhere, and at no time, did we discuss such matters as the 2019 presidency.

“The Summit was sequel to calls from several quarters in the last six months asking for our position on the issue of restructuring.

“In answer to those calls, we mandated a committee to sample the pulse of northern Nigeria in that respect.

“The committee, after contacting stakeholders across all shades of interest in the North, reported that the North favours restructuring of the country.

“Consequently, we called for the Summit at which participants unanimously confirmed North’s support for total and holistic structural reform.

“A communiqué was issued to that effect, devoid of the slightest hint at partisanship or 2019 elections, nor did we discuss the individual aspiration of any politician.

“Having said this, we finally caution in media practitioners in the country to stick to the professional ethics of accurate reporting of events and avoid unnecessary sensational overkill,” the group said.

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