The National Christian Elders Forum (NCEF), has advised Nigerians to make a rightful choice in the coming presidential election.
While referring to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), they said rather than propose “two evils” from which Nigerians should choose, righteousness should be the basis for a new President for the country in 2019.
The National Chairman of NCEF, Solomon Asemota (SAN), threw the challenge during a press conference he jointly addressed in Lagos on Friday with the NCEF Secretary and CEO of Christian Socialist Movement of Nigeria (CSMN), Bosun Emmanuel.
According to him, since politics affects the lives of everybody, it cannot become an exclusive preserve of a handful of politicians, adding that “neutrality of the Church at times like this would be tantamount to leaving the flock alone without the guidance of a Shepherd.”
He said, ““Nigerians must begin to clamor for new candidates and new political parties. It is not too late to mobilise and dismiss the current political class that devalued Naira by over 1,600 per cent from 1999 to 2018 and, at the same period, increased the price of fuel by 625 per cent.
“Jointly, PDP and APC impoverished and pauperized Nigerians and turned the country into the poverty capital of the world. It makes sense to reject the two frontline Parties, APC and PDP, for lack of credible performance.
“We are persuaded that the nation should feel compelled, within the next few months, to look in another direction for its salvation. If that is not done, Nigerians would have willingly jumped from the fire into the furnace. We are already sensitized as to what is ahead with the slogan – ‘two evils.’ NCEF is convinced that if Nigerians are truly desirous of Good Governance, then all Nigerians have need to be diligent to look outside of these two major parties.
“In the build up to the 2019 elections, another subtle manipulation is creeping into the polity. Nigerians are being told to choose between the ‘lesser of two evils’, this is dangerous. Why is Nigeria being offered ‘two evils’ as options? NCEF rejects any evil and insists that ‘evil’ should not be an option for Nigerians anymore.
“The people have suffered long enough and politicians should no longer take the patience and perseverance of Nigerians for granted. Rather than propose ‘two evils’ for Nigerians to choose from, NCEF proposes righteousness as the flagstaff for new Nigerian President. Henceforth, Nigerians should embrace truth and righteousness that will promote peace and prosperity for all.”
“NCEF believes that it does not make sense that a nation of 200 million people is unable to find a “righteous” man/woman to lead if we are determined to promote righteousness in Nigeria. Yes, we can.
“Since Nigerians have been offered a choice between ‘two evils’, NCEF suggests that the third option should be a ‘righteous’ leader from any part of the country. NCEF is not unmindful of the zoning arrangement practiced by politicians but makes the case that such arrangement is the parties internal affair. The 1999 constitution Section 14 (2)(b) states that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. In this regards, both PDP and APC did not perform creditably well.”
Asemota said NCEF agreed with the vision of a New Nigeria come 2019 and the mission of a new government, committed to halt the drift of the nation into chaos and anarchy, and proposed for Nigerians to think new.
The elders also expressed concern over what they described the growing interference of security and intelligence arms of the executive in politics and elections, especially from 1999.
To check the menace, NCEF reminded Nigerians of the weapon of “public outcry used to remove former President Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida in 1993 and PDP in 2015.
NCEF said, “Nigerians have need to raise political discourse to the level of an outcry such that APC itself would realize, like Babangida and PDP, that it has become unacceptable by an overwhelming majority of Nigerians for lack of performance in critical areas of life and security.
“However, this outcry can only work if a totally new candidate is promoted. The likelihood that APC would agree to do what (former) President Goodluck Jonathan did in 2015 by handing over power to prevent bloodshed is very remote.
“As far as APC is concerned, PDP is not different from it. So, why should Nigerians reject them and go for PDP, after all, they are birds of the same feather. Public outcry for a righteous presidential candidate is the only available peaceful solution.”
“While emphasising that “Nigeria is currently structured to favor domination of one ethnic nationality and the supremacy of one religion over the others, NCEF said “a minority rule of one ethnic group and one religion is threatening the survival of a secular state made up of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi religious groups.”
To check the trend, the organisation insisted that the restructuring of Nigeria should be a basis for campaign for candidates in the 2019 polls.
Asemota said, “The determination of a minority group to transform Nigeria into its “colony” is responsible for the chaos in the country. Nigerians now query why one ethnic group should insist that leadership is its exclusive preserve?
“NCEF insists, in agreement with other well-meaning Nigerians that restructuring the country must be a cardinal campaign issue for the 2019 elections. Therefore, the Christian elders emphasize the need to draw up a Charter of Agreement to be signed by presidential candidates to complete with timelines for implementation.
“This should be a major pre-condition for those soliciting votes from Nigerians. Of course, no promise from the current government should be taken seriously by anyone. NCEF shall draw up its Charter of Agreement and encourage other credible groups to do the same.”