From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye,  Abuja 

Northern Elders Council (NEC) has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to handle events leading up to the general elections cautiously to ensure fair, transparent and rancour free process.

It specifically warned the Buhari-led administration to be wary of elements it referred to as non-state actors in the corridors of power, noting that their intentions go beyond merely lining their pockets as they will stop at nothing to use their proximity to power to create chaos and sabotage the electoral process.

The northern group, in a statement at the weekend, by elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai tasked  Nigerians to exercise caution in their voting decisions and avoid falling for traps of groups and political parties with ethnic agenda and those parading candidates with corruption blemishes.

The group said it has assessed the political space developments in the country and would be working with progressive forces to ensure that Nigerians did not make mistakes during the upcoming elections.

The group said it sticks with the position of its leader, Mallam Tanko Yakasai, who had weeks ago expressed his support for the presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.

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“NEC, at all times, will not shy away from its commitment to peace, unity, and stability of Nigeria. NEC’s power is invested in elected people who hold it in trust for the electorate. People who, out of consanguinity ties, friendship loyalties, or privileged proximity to elected public officials, abuse power, must be rejected and prevented from subverting the popular will of people’s choices during elections.

“Corruption is not only about monetary and unfettered access to state treasury. It also includes peddling in influence by a handful of non-state actors in the corridors of power, seeking to foster chaos to derail democratic transitions, as enshrined in the constitution. We must resolutely reject that in this country.

“Northern Elders Council, under the leadership of Mallam Tanko Yakasai, in this regard, appeals to the Federal Government to be mindful of its onerous responsibility for organized, rancour free and transparent elections, as a lasting legacy in promoting the sanctity of democratic rule.

“NEC has made an unequivocal statement and principled declaration of its support for Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as its Presidential Candidate for the 2023 presidential election.

“The Congress of NEC will shortly meet and make public, more policy statements on the State of the Nation. NEC has praised President Buhari for publicly endorsing his party’s presidential candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu, on Saturday during an APC presidential campaign rally in Lafia, Nasarawa State. The NEC called the move a masterstroke that would send the right message to all Nigerians, not just to the ruling party’s supporters, and would show that there are no fissures within the ruling party.”