By Joseph Edegbo
Chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Chief Gabriel Yakubu Aduku has said that he did not speak on Kogi politics in his capacity as the leader of the Forum, but as the Chairman, Kogi East Elders’ Council.
Aduku had penultimate week fielded questions from a cross section of journalists in Kaduna, during which he expressed fears on behalf of Kogi East Elders on the unfolding political violence in the State ahead of the November 11th
2023 governoship election.
But some members of the ACF were reported to have misunderstood Aduku to have spoken on behalf of the Forum, and went ahead to allegedly warn him to desist from dragging ACF into Kogi politics.
However, the Chairman of Kogi East Elders Council in a statement on Wednesday, said those who accused him of dragging ACF into Kogi politics did not know about the aims and objectives of the Forum better than him, having been one of the founding fathers of the ACF.
He added that it would be be disloyal of him to use the ACF for personal purposes when he knew the reasons behind the formation of the Forum, just as he assured all ACF stakeholders of his undivided loyalty and irrevocable commitment to the realization of the goals and aspirations of the socio-cultural association as espoused by its founding fathers.
“My attention has been drawn to a press statement credited to some members of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) which reportedly “warned the new Chairman of the Forum to desist from dragging the ACF into his personal political warfare in Kogi State or risk being removed as Chairman”. The press statement titled “Stop using ACF for your political fights in Kogi State” was purportedly signed by one Dr. Aisha Manga and Alhaji Sadiq Bulama.
“Upon reading through the statement under reference, my initial reaction was to ignore it in its entirety but after a deep reflection, I thought the best thing to do is to issue a rebuttal, to, at least, set the records straight. For the purpose of clarification, it is important to state very unequivocally that as an elder statesman and a founding member of the Turaki Committee headed by late President Usman Aliyu Shehu Shagari, which birthed the ACF, I am not unaware of the aims and objectives of the Forum, part of which is to promote the unity, peace, progress, prosperity and overall development of northern Nigeria within the framework of a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic Nigeria.
“I am more than determined to ensure that the ACF under my watch, achieves these lofty objectives and even more.
“Having said that, I wish to place it on record that it is true that I spoke extempore with a cross-section of journalists on a number of sundry national issues, especially with regards to the unfolding political situation in Kogi State, at my Kaduna residence on Saturday, June 24th 2023, while my familiarization visit to the headquarters of the ACF took place on Thursday, June 22nd, 2023.
“It is instructive to note that the media parley and its outcome as published in both mainstream and new media, was strictly in my capacity as the Chairman of the Kogi East Elders Council and NOT as the ACF helmsman and should therefore, be seen as such. The two events are mutually exclusive.
“I also wish to clarify that contrary to the insinuation contained in the press statement, I do not have any personal political warfare in Kogi State and therefore, couldn’t have deployed the ACF to achieve such a non-existent aim. I am well-disposed in knowledge and wisdom, to know when to hold and express views that represent those of the Arewa Consultative Forum, even without being prodded. Furthermore, I couldn’t have also used the ACF as a platform to make political statements when I have not even officially assumed duty as the Chairman of the Forum.
“For the records, I shudder to say that the views I canvassed during my conversation with journalists in Kaduna with regards to the unacceptable level of insecurity in Kogi State and its implications for the off-season Gubernatorial election on November 11, 2023, were borne out of a patriotic desire to ensure the convocation of a free and fair election whose outcome would be seen to have passed the test of credibility and transparency.
“Such concerns are not misplaced given the fact that since the emergence of Alhaji Yahaya Bello as Governor, Kogi State has not enjoyed peaceful elections as previous polls had been marred by reported cases of electoral violence, ballot box snatching, and other acts of electoral malfeasance.
“All well-meaning Kogites owe it a patriotic duty to challenge the Governor and security agencies in the State to rise to the occasion to halt any possible slide into anarchy as we approach the November 11, 2023 election.
“I wish to assure all ACF stakeholders of my undivided loyalty and irrevocable commitment to the realization of the goals and aspirations of the socio-cultural association as espoused by the founding fathers and the generality of the membership of the Forum, upon inauguration and assumption of office as its Chairman”. The statement said.