The division between Northern Christians over which Presidential candidate to back in 2023 has widened.

A Caucus of  Northern Christians in Politics had been working together since early 2022. Headed by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, with Yakubu Dogara, former Speaker of the House of Representatives as Secretary, nobody quite knew of the Group’s existence until the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the Party which most of them belong to, picked former Governor of Borno State, a Muslim like him, as his running mate.

The Northern Christian Caucus saw it as an insult. They called the same-faith ticket of the APC satanic and a plot to divide the North. So, they decided not to back the APC ticket. Its leadership said the Caucus would consult and decide on which of the Candidates to back.

A couple of days ago, Lawal, during an interview with Channels Television, said they have decided to back the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and gave the reasons why.

However, a few hours after Lawal’s interview, a group of the Caucus’ members, led by Dogara, disowned Lawal. In a statement, they said there was no consultation on who to back yet. They said Lawal was on his own, and that they would meet to decide who to back.

Not surprisingly, given the swiftness with which they disowned Lawal, on Thursday, Dogara and his group, at a meet in Abuja, announced they have decided to back the Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, thus publicly discountenancing Lawal’s endorsement of Obi.

The PDP Presidential Campaign Council in a statement signed by its Spokesperson, Senator Dino Melaye, celebrated Atiku’s endorsement by the Dogara Group to no end.

But their celebration has suddenly been cut short.

Here is why.

The Southern And Middle Belt Alliance, (SaMBA), a group of Northern Leaders, has distanced itself from what it described as the purported endorsement of Atiku by Dogara’s NLCF.

In a statement SaMBA issued in Abuja on Saturday, signed by its Spokesperson, Prince Rwang Pam, Jnr, it dismissed Dogara’s NLCF as a toothless platform. It said the NLCF was manipulated by politicians who have been benefiting from the old order, and wondered on what basis anybody would tell them to back Atiku.


The Group asked what millions of Southern and Middle Belt people have benefited from Atiku. They recalled Atiku’s reaction to the gruesome murder of Deborah, the third year student of the Federal College of Education, Sokoto who was stoned to death and her body set ablaze by her Muslim Colleagues for, alleged blasphemy.

The statement recalled that not only did Atiku order that the post put out on his behalf be stood down, till date, he has neither condoled Deborah’s parents nor visited them.

SaMBA statement reads:

“Our attention has been drawn to the purported endorsement of the Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar by a toothless Northern Leaders Consultative Forum (NLCF), coordinated by former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who by this action has lost favour amongst his Middle Belt family.

“We want to state categorically that the communique by Rt. Honourable Dogara’s Group is self-serving and does not remotely substantially represent the interest of Middle Belters who occupy, approximately, 300,000 Sq. Km of the Northern Region – that is about 50 %.

“Also, it is on record that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar who declined to speak publicly against the gruesome murder of Deborah Yakubu in Sokoto will not defend the interest of Middle Belters and Christians living in the North.

“Atiku who had been Vice President between 1999-2007, belongs to the old order. He will not be able to restructure Nigeria to the yearnings of Nigerians.

“Therefore, the endorsement of the Presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), cannot stand, and will not stand. Their lame excuse that the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, does not have a structure is false.

“Progressive Nigerians are the structures, and Dogara’s Middle Belters, remain solidly in support of Mr Peter Obi and Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.”

SaMBA is on the same page with Babachir Lawal, and like him and his Group, has endorsed Obi.

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