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 (APC) 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.
Consider Hardship Under Buhari, Group Tells Tinubu Promoters
Coalition of South East Youth Leaders, COSEYL, has advised promoters of the presidential candidature of the candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, to remember the current economic hardship Nigerians are passing through under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari promoted and sold to Nigeria by Tinubu.
COSEYL in a statement jointly signed by its President General, Hon. Goodluck Ibem and Publicity Secretary, Comrade Okey Nwaoru, argued that Tinubu’s administation would not be different from Buhari’s whom he had severally boasted of bringing to power.
The group further alleged that Tinubu’s age may not enable him effectively tackle the challenges of the office of the President.
The statement made available to The Tide source read in part: “We advise groups and persons promoting the presidential ambition of Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu to retrace their steps in the interest of Nigeria.
“On June 3, 2022:Tinubu while on a visit in Ogun State, openly boasted that he made Gen Muhammadu Buhari President in 2015 after several futile attempts.
“But, driven by his own personal political ambition, Tinubu persuaded Buhari to try again and then made him President in 2015 and brought the disaster the country is grappling with at the present.
“The implication of his statement is that the hardships Nigerians are facing today were brought upon us by none other than Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
“So Tinubu owes Nigerians a sincere apology for bringing a disastrous plague upon the nation. His presidential ambition has increased the fears of Nigeria’s suffering masses, especially the youth population.”
The group lamented that under the watch of the man packaged and promoted by Tinubu, Nigeria’s economy which was among the leading economies in Africa in 2015, had nosedived almost irredeemably.
“In 2015, a dollar was exchanged for N160 naira. A litre of fuel was sold for N65, a litre of kerosene was sold for N50, diesel was sold for N50 a kilogram of cooking gas was sold for N100 a kilo but today, a litre of kerosene is sold for N900, a litre of diesel for N1000, a kilo of cooking gas for N1000.
“Everything in the market used by Nigerians has increased by over 1000 per cent to what it used to be and the same person who brought this misery on Nigerians wants to be President?”
COSEYL vowed to mobilise Nigerian youths against the ambition of any presidential candidate that would be a continuation of the “current misery”.
“We the youths will not allow affliction the second time upon us. Never! We have made our mistakes in 2015 but we are wiser now.
“Youths cannot be deceived again with the usual monetary inducement; it is the time of the youth to take back our nation.
“We call on any organization, groups or persons promoting the presidential ambition of Senator Tinubu to come back to their senses and engage in meaningful endeavours instead of marketing a very bad product.”
Falsehood, Disinformation Won’t Win Elections, Tinubu Tells Obi
The presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has asked his counterpart in the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi, to call his supporters to order, warning that “falsehood and disinformation will not win elections”.
Tinubu, in a statement by his campaign organisation, on Wednesday, urged Obi to caution his supporters and to allow the election circle be about issues that will advance the growth, progress and stability of the country.
The statement by Director, Media and Communications, Tinubu Campaign Organisation, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, also admonished the Labour Party presidential candidate to get his supporters to “desist from spreading lies, malice and denigrating other candidates, especially Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu”.
“TCO (Tinubu Campaign Organisation) further states that Nigeria will be better for it and the electoral process will be enriched if the 2023 presidential campaign sticks to issues of good governance that will lift millions of Nigerians out of poverty rather than being dominated by the ravings of guttersnipes, who do not wish the country well,” the statement added.
Onanuga noted that the Tinubu Campaign Organisation saw the need to appeal to Obi to rein in his supporters after investigating the origin of the fake report claiming that the Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo wrote a letter to Tinubu, asking him to support Obi and take care of his (Tinubu) health.
According to him, the Ghanaian President, via his official Twitter account, has debunked the news as a product of deliberate mischief with the intent to deceive the public.
“I have written no such letter to the APC leader, and it will not occur to me to do so.
“Ghana and Nigeria boast of decades of cordial, strong and brotherly relations, and I am not going to be the one to interfere in the internal affairs and politics of Nigeria,” said President of Ghana via Twitter.
Onanuga said: “We have found that the fake news about Akufo-Addo’s letter was first published on June 22 by a rogue platform, whose url reads worlsnews.space (sic) and site identity as World of News.
“A content analysis of the site clearly showed that it is a Biafra news platform. The fake news was reposted on Facebook by Peter Obi Support Group, same day — a clear proof that Biafra campaigners and Peter Obi supporters are the same.
“Both the Facebook account and the website are replete with fake stories about Bola Tinubu, including a fake story credited to former Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, alleging that Tinubu demanded N50 billion monthly payment from him.
“The spuriousness of the statement is in the evidence that Lagos did not begin to clock N50 billion revenue until after Ambode left office.
“Tinubu could not have demanded N50 billion monthly payment from Ambode when the state government didn’t make such in a month throughout the tenure of Mr. Ambode.
“The pirate website, which the Facebook account feeds, on also parades malicious fake news and headlines such as “I am old, but my blood is young, please vote for me – Tinubu begs youth.” .
“There is also the most wicked of all headlines: ‘When I became president, I will Build more prison (sic) for Igbo’s and IPOB members – Tinubu’.
“The big surprise in all of these is that all the headlines have no supporting stories, and clicking them may bring virus to your computer.
“We have come to a point where it becomes imperative to tell Mr. Obi to show leadership and disavow his supporters, who are employing fake news and disinformation as deliberate tools to deceive and poison the minds of unsuspecting Nigerians,” he added.
Group Okays Lalong’s Choice As APC Campaign DG
A group under the aegis of the Northern Christian Network (NCN) has described the choice of Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong as the Director General of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council as a perfect soft landing for the ruling party.
Convener of the group, Mshelia Lazarus, made the position of the Northern Christian Network known in a statement issued in Abuja on Wednesday.
The group while congratulating Lalong on his emergence as the campaign DG, expressed confidence in his capacity to deliver.
According to the group, the choice of Lalong would to a greater extent douse the raging controversies and heated debates being generated over the Muslim-Muslim ticket by the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The group therefore urged critical political stakeholders from the country, especially the North Central geopolitical zone where Lalong hails from to rally round one of their own to enable him succeed in the given task.
The group also appealed to Christians in the country to see Lalong as one of their own who would ensure their interest is well protected in the ruling party.
The group maintained that one person that will be a master stroke and game changer for Asiwaju’s victory is the Plateau State Governor and Chairman, Northern Governors’ Forum (NGF), Simon Bako Lalong.
“Lalong is a quintessential and grassroots politician who will be able to galvanize his influence in delivering victory for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
“The choice of Lalong who is an influential Northern politician and a devoted but detrabalised Christian from the ruling party, will no doubt, kindle hope among the Christian community in the country”, the group said in the statement.
“Lalong, who is the Chairman of the Northern Governors Forum was able to galvanize and rally all his colleagues from the North to insist on power shift to the South.
“He was instrumental in seeing to it that the cabals who were bent on foisting a Northern candidate on the party as flag bearer did not succeed , thus, paving the way for the seamless emergence of Tinubu at the convention in Abuja.
“The last minute intervention of the Lalong-led NGF changed the equation in favour of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu”, the group said.
The group also alluded to the efforts of Lalong in engendering peace and harmonious living on the Plateau, saying, his emergence would be a game changer for the party.
“The emergence of Lalong as governor changed the narrative on the Plateau as the state has largely witnessed relative peace as against the recurrent clashes it had recorded in the ugly past.
“Lalong due to his sensitivity to the religious and ethnic leanings of the people on the Plateau, has been able to engender peaceful coexistence and promote harmonious living among the people.
“He has been able to scale down the spate of conflicts and tension on the Plateau. Lalong has before now served as a lawmaker in the Plateau State House of Assembly where he rose to become Speaker of the House aside handling other sensitive responsibilities in the House.
“As chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, Lalong as first among equals, has been able to galvanize his 18 other fellow governors from the North and had coordinated the affairs of the Forum without hitches.
“All these were clear attestation to the competence of Lalong and there is no gainsaying the fact that choosing him as the campaign DG would ensure victory for Asiwaju”, the group said.
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