The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has cautioned the political parties in the country against heating up the polity with either Christian/Christian ticket or Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket come 2023 general election.
The counsel was given on Thursday by the CAN’s President, Rev. (Dr.) Samson Ayokunle in a parley of the Association’s leadership with the Deputy Senate President, Senator Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege in his office at the National Assembly complex.
“Sir, concerning 2023 elections, we would admonish you politicians not to heat up the polity in any way as the campaigns are opened by guarding the utterances that would be coming out of you. There is already tension in the land because of insecurity.
“We equally want to urge you on presidency that a balance of both religious practitioners be considered. We don’t want Christian/Christian ticket nor Muslim/Muslim ticket”, he said.
Speaking further, Dr Ayokunle expressed dissatisfaction and disappointment with the menace caused by the economic downturn and its consequences on the polity.
He called for an enabling environment to cushion the effects on the people.
Said he, “Sir, the church is worried about inflation in the land which has sent many people out of business. Unemployment is at unimaginable level. While we appreciate the efforts of the legislative assemblies in calling the attention of the executive to this, more robust and daring efforts are required to nip these things in the bud. Enabling environment should be created for investments and incentives or tax exemptions given to local manufacturers on some goods.”
Responding to a call by the CAN President opposing all-Muslim, all-Christian presidential tickets in the 2023 presidential election, Senator Omo-Agege stressed that the APC has always been mindful of that in its choice of candidates for elective and appointive positions.
He buttressed his argument with the 2015 APC primaries where the party averted a Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket.
His words: ‘On the issue of balancing in the presidential tickets of political parties, it is commendable but while I am the Deputy President of the Senate, I am also of a political party extraction which is the All Progressives Congress (APC). What that means in effect is I am not in a position to influence the thinking of other parties. But at least within our own APC, that is a position we have always respected and I believe we will continue to respect. In all that we do, we take that into account that we have two major faiths.
“That will continue to be our guiding principle as we move to 2023 not just in identifying and picking presidential and vice presidential candidates but also here in the National Assembly. But I will appreciate if the same message is passed on to other political parties. For us, the message has been well received but it’s like you are preaching to the converted”.
He urged the Church to pray for leaders holding political offices at all times.
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