Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
The clarification, which was made on Thursday by the National Chairman of the forum, Comrade Elliot Afiyo, absolved the former President of having any plan to anoint a Northern presidential candidate for the 2015 general polls.
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Afiyo alleged that Obasanjo knew nothing about the forum’s decision to select either former Vice President Atiku Abubakar or Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano State as its short-listed northern presidential candidates.
It was gathered that the political committee of the NYLF had earlier submitted the nomination list comprising Atiku, Kwankwaso and seven other short-listed Presidential aspirants to get the forum’s support.
Meanwhile, the northern youth body National Executive Council, NEC, had expressed desire to support a northern candidate, having decided that there is need to get the Presidential slot and bring power back to the Northern region.
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According to findings, two of the nominees would contest election on December 11, 2014, although there are rumours that the former President is believed to have a “favoured” candidate among the duo, a speculation that has been causing issues within the forum.
However, the national president while debunking the speculations said: “The fact remains that Baba Obasanjo strongly believes in the forum, having got similar nod in 2003 and 2007 for our late Yar’adua. But, he is not part of any rumoured plan to favour either of the two.”
Afiyo assured that the forum with a total of 152 affiliated youth groups in the region will democratically choose their Presidential candidate irrespective of the party he comes from. He revealed that the first attempt to choose a candidate was cancelled because it was discovered that some politicians and former ministers infiltrated the forum’s delegates.
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He further explained that the move was misconstrued by some people who alleged that the leadership of the forum is supporting one out of the two candidates.
“We have never been noted for this and we shall continue to keep our integrity. We shall elect one who shall get the nod of the over 60 million eligible youth and women voters in the North,” he said.
Meanwhile, the former president is expected to be very busy soonest and might not really have enough time to play active politics, as he has reportedly gone back to school to obtain a Master/PHD degree in theology at the National Open University of Nigeria, NOUN.
It would be recalled that the ex-president’s son, Adeboye Obasanjo, who is an army engineer and a Lieutenant Colonel at the 3rd Division in Jos, Plateau State, has been recently shot in the legs by Boko Haram members.