Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has warned citizens to not take the February polls as a do-or-die affair.
The religious body said that no politician irrespective of his or her position is worth dying for.
CAN, therefore, urged Nigerians to ensure that the 2023 elections are conducted under a peaceful atmosphere without rancour.
While warning the citizens to not at any time take the laws into their hands, CAN also charged the nation’s electoral body, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible.
The Harsh Economic Situation In Nigeria Is Worrisome
The CAN chapter in a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Rev. Yakubu Pam, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Christian Pilgrim Commission; the Secretary-General, Elder Sunday Oibe, said that Nigerians were living in hell as a result of the poor economic record under the incumbent government led by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Christian clerics said the weak economy has thrown millions of Nigerians into abject poverty and hunger such that an average citizen can hardly afford a square meal per day.
All these, according to the northern CAN leaders, remain the recipe for criminality and crime which negatively affect education as well as the quality of healthcare.
Naija News understands that the statement was released shortly after the end of a two-day National Executive Council Meeting of the northern CAN in Kaduna.
The religious body expressed concern that those who mismanaged the economy were using hunger as a weapon as the 2023 general election approached.
The communique read, “The NEC of CAN in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, met on September 4-5, 2022, in Kaduna. The meeting was presided over by the Chairman of Northern CAN, Rev. Dr. Yakubu Pam.
“The meeting deliberated on a wide range of issues affecting Christians in the North and the state of the nation. Some of the issues deliberated upon include the harsh economic situation in the country which had brought about mass poverty and hunger among millions of Nigeria; the 2023 general election; insecurity; and the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government.
“Our weak economy has thrown millions of Nigerians into abject poverty and hunger. Life is becoming a living hell as people struggle to make ends meet. Almost on a daily basis, prices of food and essential items are on the increase. Many families can barely get one square meal in a day. There is no denying the fact that there is poverty and hunger in the land. The reality on the ground is evident for all to see.
“Poverty and hunger affect all spheres of life. It fuels criminality and crime; it affects education; it affects quality healthcare. Hunger affects citizens’ political choices.
“Already, those who mismanaged the economy are using hunger as a weapon as the 2023 general election approaches. We call on governments at all levels to address the problem of poverty and hunger in Nigeria.
“We call on Nigerians to ensure that the 2023 elections are conducted under a peaceful atmosphere without rancour. Election is not war. No politician is worth dying for. No one should take the laws into his or her hands. The Independent National Electoral Commission should ensure that the elections are free, fair and credible.”
Politician’s Children School Abroad, Do Not Be Used – CAN Tells Youth
While calling on President Buhari to ensure a peaceful transition at the end of his tenure in 2023, CAN again charged Nigerian youths to not allow themselves to be used as instruments of violence by any politician.
The religious group noted that the children of some of these politicians who recruit the youths as thugs for their political gains are schooling abroad.
“Parents should caution their children against being recruited as hooligans by politicians,” CAN said.
CAN also admonish political actors to play politics without bitterness but according to the rules of the game, devoid of rancour.
“Party leaders, flag bearers, party members, supporters and fans must conduct themselves with decorum and focus their campaigns on how they intend to address the myriads of problems bedevilling the country. They must not engage in any act or conduct that can incite violence or constitute a breach of the peace anywhere during their campaigns,” the statement added.