AHEAD of the 2023 presidential election, some North East elders have endorsed the candidacy of Mr Peter Obi of the Labour Party, describing his choice as the best for modern Nigeria.
The elders denounced the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Muslim Muslim presidential ticket, saying the action of the party would not enjoy their blessings as açcording to them, it did not promote equity and fairness in a diverse Nigeria.
In a statement on Saturday, the elders who described APC’s action as highest level of madness and an evil agenda in Nigeria, reminded the promoters of the same faith ticket to go memory lane to see if their action was in line with what founders of Nigeria’s democracy preached and practiced.
Noting that Nigeria was a secular country that no religion should be elevated against others, the elders tasked APC to reflect on its action given that Nigeria of today had shifted from 1993 where such was promoted without any opposition.
The North East elders, operating under the aegis of Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development (CNEEPD), told APC not to be comfortable with their action, saying the rigging which it was relying upon as party in government will fail them woefully as açcording to them,Nigerians would vote and safeguard their votes without fear or intimidations from APC’s hired agents.
In the statement by its National Coordinator, Engr. Zana Goni, the group insisted that contrary to APC’s expectation,it would lose the presidential poll before 12 noon, adding that “indications across the country were not in favour of the party that had put Nigeria in its present bad situation.”
The North East elders, also flayed the attacks being carried out on the facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the South East, attributing the developments to some sponsored terrorists outside the zone with the aim to deplete the South East voting strength.
The statement read in part: “As the 2023 general elections draws near, we the Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development have noted with concerns some actions and statements by some political parties and actors in our democratic process. The latest being the impunity orchestrated by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in settling for a same faith ticket in a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and above all, multi-cultural country like Nigeria and the party’s defence of the absurd action in the face of widespread opposition to the abnormalities.
“As leaders who have not only monitored but also actively contributed to political developments in Nigeria for decades, we wish to categorically denounce the APC’s action which we view as inimical to the progress and growth of Nigeria.
Without mincing words, we describe the party’s decision in fielding Muslim Muslim ticket in the 2023 presidential election as the highest level of madness, insensitivity, and an evil agenda against our dear country which we have laboured for years to build. This decision which threatens the unity of the country does not have our blessings and must be resisted by all Nigerians of good conscience. Anything contrary will threaten the fragile unity and peace of Nigeria.”
The elders added: ”We wonder why a sane man and sane political party will contemplate and even go ahead to pick a Muslim as running mate to a Muslim candidate in a presidential election in secular country as Nigeria at this modern age.”
Açcording to the group, “To make the matter worse, they picked Alhajji Kashim Shetima, a man whose alleged link with terrorism is still a subject of debate in public domain.”
Noting that, ”This is a costly mistake that must be resisted at poll by all Nigerians, irrespective of religion, tribe or ethnic backgrounds in the interest of peace”, the group said:” If this madness is allowed to see the light of the day, the unity and peace of Nigeria will be threatened forever.”
“How can someone tries this in Nigeria? As it stands together Christians and Muslims have started supporting candidates based on religious lines, in mosques and churches across the country. This is not what we need now.
“The peace in Nigeria is too fragile to contemplate this kind of madness as exhibited by the ruling APC. The party has actually made more Nigerians to believe that they have an Islamization agenda as widely speculated,”it said.
The group alleged that attacks on INEC facilitaties in the South East are orchestrated by some political interest groups to reduce the voting strength of the region.
” Given the carefully coordinated attacks launched in recent times on both INEC personnel and facilitaties, we will not be wrong to believe that the actions are carefully calculated, planned, and executed by suspected Boko Haram terrorists with aim to disenfranchised the people of South East and also put them in the bad light.
“Security agencies must clamp down on these evil people and bring them to book immediately,”it said.
“We also urge all the South East communities to constitute a special task force to protect INEC facilities and officials across the zone,”it tasked the region.
“We call on all Nigeria’s to resist this evil and selfish agenda of Muslim Muslim ticket with every legal means. The current level of hunger and terrorism in the North today does not respect the Muslim or any religion hence Muslims must look beyond the lies APC is selling to us. We must vote credible leaders with capacity and programme for our dear country,”the elder advised.