The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has expressed regrets that the region voted for President Bola Tinubu in 2023.

Of the three leading candidates in the 2023 presidential election, Tinubu, who ran on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), polled the highest votes from the region.

In an interview with Guardian on Tuesday, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, spokesman of the forum, said going forward, the region will prioritize unity and consensus in selecting a candidate for the highest office in the land.

Quizzed on the recent visit and donations by Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general elections, to communities in northern states, Suleiman said the region would prioritize someone who is seen as more inclusive, less controversial, and more aligned with the interests of all regions of the country.

“The North made a mistake in voting Bola Tinubu to the presidency in 2023, and it is unlikely that they will repeat the same error in the future.”

“They have learned from their past misstep and will strive to select a candidate who can unite the country and govern in the best interests of all Nigerians.

“Moving forward, the North will be more cautious in selecting a candidate for the presidency. They will prioritize someone who is seen as more inclusive, less controversial, and more aligned with the interests of all regions of the country.

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“The mistake of supporting Tinubu in 2023 has taught them the importance of unity and consensus in selecting a candidate for the highest office in the land,” he was quoted as saying.

Tinubu has been widely criticised over some policies of his administration, which have been tagged as anti-masses.

Earlier in the week, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Tinubu’s main challenger in last year’s election, said the president’s policies lack human face.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate said this in reaction to the hike in electricity tarriff.

However, the president has consistently assured Nigerians that the worse days are over, saying his government has things under control.

After signing the Student Loan bill into law last week, Tinubu said the future of Nigerian children will be brighter as the path to take them out of poverty has been cleared.

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He also said the economy was taking shape and step were being taken to tackle inflation.

“The only thing that can fight poverty is education. Today, I signed the bill for the Student Loan Scheme. Imagine the children of the poor; what about people going through the mud fishing in the ponds? How do you tell their children that their future will be brighter? It is only through education that we can fight poverty. A promising future awaits our children,” the president said at an Aso Rock dinner.

“The economy is looking much better. Yes, we have inflation challenges, but we will bring them down. When the exchange rate was going haywire, it looked like we were asleep, but we worked on it diligently, and it is going down; it is getting better. Borrowing was higher a year ago, but today, we are reengineering the financial landscape, and our revenue is expanding. And we are taking up our sovereignty and earning our respect back in the comity of nations.”

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