Prominent Nigerians, Christian political leaders and the Christian Association of Nigeria on Wednesday raised fears that February 25, 2022, presidential election would either make or destroy the future of the country.
They are a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; the Senator representing Adamawa North District in the National Assembly, Elisha Ishaku Abbo; outgoing President of CAN, Samson Ayokunle and the leaders of various Christian blocs and denominations.
They also faulted the All Progressives Congress for presenting a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the 2023 election, describing it as “reprehensible and ungodly”.
They stated these during a symposium on the leadership crises in Nigeria, which held in Abuja as part of activities marking the 12th General Assembly of CAN and the leadership transition ceremony with the theme, ‘The role of the Church in times like this’.
The clerics and politicians called on critical stakeholders, particularly Christian youths and women to ensure that a candidate who values justice, righteousness, and inclusivity as well as respects the diversities inherent in the country emerges as Nigeria’s next leader in order to avoid polarising the country.
Senator Abbo said, “I am known for frankness. Sometimes, it sounds insulting to some people, because when I speak the truth in its raw form without adulteration, people say I am insulting them.
“Nevertheless, the 2023 election is a make or mar poll, especially for the Christians and for everyone who loves and values the unity of Nigeria.”
He lamented the worsening spate of insecurity in the country, saying the country may not survive the next eight years unless concerted efforts are made to pull it from the brinks.
According to him, the country is still held together only by God’s grace through the continual prayers offered in the various worship centres.
“They (terrorists) have entered Abuja. We used to think that the Federal Capital Territory is safe. That’s why many politicians no longer visit their villages again, but the bandits have entered Abuja.
“Nigeria cannot survive another eight years like this. However, the decision is for you, the youths and women, to save this nation (through the ballot)
“There is power in the hands of the Nigerian Christian youths and women to change things, particularly in the affairs of the nation.”
He urged CAN to fully activate its structures and networks ahead of the 2023 elections to ensure there is a positive change in the affairs of the nation, saying the apex Christian body already possessed the most mature and organised structures in this country.
Dogara said that the country was experiencing shame, disgrace and reproach on many fronts because many of those saddled with the country’s leadership was not doing the right thing.
He said, “I want to say emphatically that CAN’s position on the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket in this country, at this moment of national peril, is not just CAN’s or that of Babachir David Lawal, whom many have accused of being the only one who has turned it into an issue.
“I believe it (the rejection of same-faith ticket) is also the Almighty’s own position, because we serve a God of justice. He is the righteous One as well as the author of diversity, and he wants us, as diverse as we are, to come together.
“So, CAN’s stance is the position of all of us (Christian political leaders) who love righteousness, justice as well as diversity and are working to harness these for the advancement of this country.
“In as much as what we are fighting for is a godly position, every other position is ungodly. There’s no middle way. It’s either you are for righteousness, justice and inclusivity or you are working against the unity of this great country.”
On his part, Ayokunle raised doubts about the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission to conduct a transparent election in 2023.
“I don’t think INEC is ready for credible elections. I relocated from my former residence to a new one in the same town and reported to INEC last year, but up till now, the commission has not effected any update in my polling unit.
“I went again in February this year and was told that approval has to be given from the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja. Is Abuja in heaven?
“Many Nigerians perceive this as just a ploy by INEC to disenfranchise qualified voters. INEC should not be the problem between us and credible election in 2023”, he said.