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2023 presidential election will make or mar Nigeria – CAN, Dogara, Abbo, others warn

Education
…Insist Muslim-Muslim ticket reprehensible, ungodly, capable of polarising the nation
…Allege plot by INEC to disenfranchise qualified voters
By Luminous Jannamike, Abuja
THE Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, as well as notable Christian political leaders have warned that the February 25, 2022 presidential election would either make or mar the future of the country.
This is even as they rejected the same-faith presidential ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC), describing it as reprehensible and ungodly.
They stated these at a symposium on the leadership crises in Nigeria, which held in Abuja on Wednesday, as part of activities marking CAN’s 12th General Assembly and Leadership Transition Ceremony.
Apart from the CAN President, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, and the leaders of various Christian blocs and denominations, some political leaders who graced the event include; a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara; the Senator who represents Adamawa North District in the National Assembly, Elisha Ishaku Abbo, among others.
While speaking on the theme of the symposium, ‘The Role of the Church In Times Like This’, they urged critical stakeholders, particularly Christian youths and women to ensure that a candidate who values justice, righteousness, inclusivity as well as respects the diversities inherent in the country emerges Nigeria’s next leader in order to avoid polarising the country.
In his speech, 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 the 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 now entered into 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.
Also speaking, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, stated that the country was experiencing shame, disgrace and reproach in many fronts because many of those saddled with the leadership of the country were 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 Engr. 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.”
Dogara, therefore, charged Christian youths and women to relegate their individual agonies to the background and unite to take active part in politics.
He said, “To the youths and women, there are so many areas in politics you can participate in; such as organising your communities, mobilising people to register for the Permanent Voters’ Cards so that their voices can be heard in the 2023 election, contributing to political discourses and other issues of national importance by bringing your righteous views, and propounding solutions to a myriad of challenges. So, these are areas of politics that we must participate in.
“No doubts, there are always obstacles, but before you can play any of these roles, you owe a duty to seek for self-education, betterment, and improvement, because this world does not offer you anything beyond who you are. However, the joy is that we can always improve ourselves by learning.
“So, you must be fully prepared, equipped, and transformed by the mind of Christ to positively impact on our body politics. We want to see the youths and women, who are burning with the desire for justice, righteousness and inclusiveness, rise up for these qualities in our body politics.”
On his part, the CAN President raised doubts about the ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 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 since 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 an 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 warned.
Ayokunle charged the next leadership of CAN to maintain its dignity by refraining from shameful acts.
He advised, “It is the way you present yourself that people will treat you. We have all it takes to be seen and respected in our society.
“It is a challenge for the incoming administration to positively and pragmatically project the image of CAN, because the more they do that, the better the respect they will have within the society. I pray that this atmosphere of peace will be sustained.”

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