Presidential Candidates
Peter Obi (LP), Bola Tinubu (APC), Atiku Abubakar (PDP)

Monday, the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and his Labour Party counterpart, Mr. Peter Obi, sought northern support for their ambitions to succeed President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) in 2023.

The two candidates discussed restructuring, insecurity, the economy, power, and corruption.

Obi highlighted his vision for the economy, while Tinubu discussed how he would address the age-old problem of almajiri (students of Islamic schools) in the north if elected in the 2023 election.

During an interactive session with the Arewa Joint Committee, which was held at the Arewa House in Kaduna, the two candidates revealed their plans.

Leaders of the Arewa Consultative Forum, the Northern Elders Forum, the Sir Ahmadu Bello Memorial Foundation, Jamiyyar Matan Arewa, the Centre for Historical Development Research, and the Arewa Research and Documentation Project were present at the forum.


Saturday, the committee hosted Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party.


Tinubu, clad in a light-blue agbada and his signature cap, reassured the northern leaders of Nigeria’s indivisibility and emphasised that the restructuring of the country required consensus.

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Invoking a sensitive and contentious issue between the Northern and Southern regions, the APC presidential candidate explained that state police and fiscal restructuring are constitutional issues requiring consensus or broad support.

The APC regime did not implement the committee’s report recommending the restructuring of the country, according to reports.

Tinubu on restructuring

Tinubu explained that the consensus on restructuring would require the participation of key stakeholders, including the council of state, legislature, judiciary, state governments, and traditional institutions and groups, while assuring the northerners of his resolve to resolve the agitation while maintaining national unity.


According to the APC leader, his ambition to lead the country is evidence of his faith in the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria.


Tinubu pledged to fund the security agencies and improve their personnel’s welfare in order to secure the nation.


“We will mobilise resources to improve the welfare of personnel and provide them with the necessary equipment and training to protect us all. We will continue to increase the number of boots on the ground proportionate to our geography and population.


“This recruitment will be tailored to meet the specific cadre and expertise requirements of each security architecture organ. I can assure you that my promise will be kept throughout this period,” he pledged.


Former Lagos state governor Akinwunmi Ambode insulted his rival for the presidency, Atiku, by claiming to have visited every region of Nigeria.


Atiku sparked controversy and drew criticism when he asked the Arewa Joint Committee to support him as a northerner, emphasising that the North did not require a Yoruba or Igbo candidate (a reference to Tinubu and Obi).

Tinubu criticised Atiku for playing the ethnic card in advance of the 2023 presidential election, saying, “You started in Uyo and now you’re in Kaduna, and you’re telling the North that you’re the best candidate for the North; how do we reconcile that? You did not win the election.


“I am among you. Yes. “I am a city boy from Lagos,” he added in response to the audience’s applause.


Tinubu went on to say that the PDP presidential candidate, having supported Atiku’s 2007 presidential campaign, should have endorsed him for the presidency instead of running against him.


“It’s payback time; Atiku should endorse me rather than campaign in Kaduna. I backed him in 2007,” he declared.

Under his administration, the candidate pledged that bandits would cease to exist, stating, “The ragtag bandits will not be able to defeat us. They will be defeated.”


Tinubu stated that, if elected president, he would employ all resources “within our national power” to secure Nigeria.


“As you are aware, security depends on available resources. I am dedicated to mobilising all of our nation’s assets to secure Nigeria. This was accomplished in Lagos through a number of initiatives, most notably the Security Trust Fund, through which we addressed numerous needs of our security forces, thereby contributing to the cleanliness of Lagos State.

“As you may recall, when I became governor in 1999, urban gangs ruled the streets and the situation was essentially one of banditry.

“I restored law and order, quelled a potential massive ethnic conflict, and made Lagos one of the safest states in Nigeria. I will replicate this throughout the nation.

“Under my leadership, the Nigerian military will receive a much-needed infusion of trained personnel to bolster the heroic efforts of the currently deployed troops,” he added.

Citing the security funding he initiated as governor, Tinubu declared, “We will address the welfare and training needs of our security personnel and strengthen our security institutions with modern technology and equipment so that they are better able to respond to the modern challenges we face in a world that is rapidly changing.”

Regarding the economy, the APC presidential candidate stated that the country was sitting on a gold mine of natural resources, adding, “With strategic investment in research and development and effective management, we will fully explore and exploit these resources.”

He asserted that the Nigerian government would be business-friendly under his leadership, noting that his administration would support small businesses. Additionally, Tinubu stated that he would collaborate with states to address the Almajiri problem.

When asked what he would do differently than the President, Tinubu replied, “He has established a constitutionalist foundation.” He performed well. I will not dispose of everything that he has accomplished.

Obi’s rescue mission

If elected president in 2023, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate stated he would rescue Nigeria from its status as a failed state.

He argued that when a nation loses control of its economy and security, it is nothing more than a failed state.


The ex-governor of Anambra State noted that Nigeria was not devoid of ideas, but lacked the institutional and political will to effect genuine change that would improve the lives of Nigerians. He added that he would alter the narrative in a positive way.


Obi declared that he was committed to unlocking the country’s greatness and transforming it from a consumer to a producer, while reiterating that under his administration, insecurity would be a thing of the past.


This, he stated, would be accomplished by creating employment opportunities for youths who were being utilised to commit social vices across the nation.


Once jobs are created and youths are productively employed, according to the LP candidate, insecurity will have been reduced to a bare minimum and will no longer be a lucrative business.


Additionally, he assured Nigerians that the country’s security agencies would be adequately equipped to deal with all forms of insecurity.


Obi stated, “We intend to establish a revolutionary government. The north of Nigeria is Nigeria’s greatest asset. The vast uncultivated land in the north is Nigeria’s greatest asset, but it has been taken over by bandits. Nigeria is going to be unlocked.


“We will restore Nigeria to life. All banks will be shareholders in the Bank of Agriculture, where farmers will be able to assess loans directly.

The former governor also pledged to eradicate poverty in the nation, stating, “When you pull people out of poverty, the country’s crime rate will decrease.”


He argued that his candidacy represented a new Nigeria in which “Nigerians would be proud of their fatherland.”


The LP candidate stated that corruption could only be eradicated “when the President is not stealing.”


“Our past is gone. We will confront the future. Fighting corruption is simple when one is not committing theft. Our funds are being stolen, and subsidies are organised crime.


“I want to give hope to Nigerians. My running mate and I will be in charge. We will not disappoint them. We possess physical prowess. I will engage in dialogue with every agitator because it will make Nigeria stronger and more united.”


In his remarks at the event, El-Rufai, the governor of Kaduna State, stated that the 19 APC governors were determined to ensure that Tinubu succeeded Buhari on May 29, 2023.


He remarked that the decision to ensure the South’s return to power must have been unpopular with many Nigerians, with some implying that the decision-makers had ulterior motives.

However, he revealed that the Northern APC governors’ decision to support a Southern candidate was based on a shared sense of responsibility.

El-Rufai on Obi

El-Rufai caused a stir when he revisited the “sin” of the Labour Party candidate, whom he claimed was responsible for his arrest and 48-hour detention as governor of Anambra State at the time.

The governor sent the audience into a hysterical frenzy when he joked that he has access to the entire security infrastructure now that the LP candidate is under his control.

According to him, Obi, who was running for a second term on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance at the time, had him arrested and detained for 48 hours in 2013 when he visited Anambra to monitor the state’s governorship byelection.

He stated, “In 2013, I travelled to Anambra State as an APC representative to observe the by-election for governor. Your next guest, Governor Peter Obi, had me arrested and detained in my hotel room for 48 hours.

“I am now the governor of Kaduna State, and he is visiting Kaduna. In addition to the police and SSS, I also have a Mechanized division of the Nigerian Army if I need to arrest or detain anyone. However, we are northerners and thus civilised. We do not behave in such a manner. I wish you all a safe return to your respective destinations.”

During a youth programme in Nnewi in 2018, Obi defended his position by stating that El-Rufai was being overzealous in accusing him of bigotry given the circumstances surrounding his arrest.

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the presidential candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party and former governor of Kano State, has been challenged by the Northern Elders Forum to justify his claim that the Arewa Committee has endorsed a Northern candidate.

Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, director of media and publicity for the NEF, stated this in an interview with newsmen.

While acknowledging that Kwankwaso had problems, he stated that the NEF sympathised with him because he exacerbated them by giving the impression that he cannot face the people of the North.


He stated, “We challenge him to demonstrate his claims. He cannot, as he is aware that no one can compromise this procedure. There were five participants. Are they all idiots for submitting and utilising a hacked platform?


“Kwankwaso has his issues, and we have sympathy for him. He made matters worse by creating the impression that he is unable to face Northerners.”

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