As the 2023 general election inches closer, elders in the northern part of the country have warned Nigerians against sacrificing competence and capacity on the altar of sentiments.
The elders under the aegis of Northern Elders Forum (NEF) said it is irresponsible to vote for a candidate because he bears one’s ethnic identity.
Chairman of NEF, Prof Ango Abdullahi, stated yesterday in Kaduna while delivering a paper titled, ‘Election Have Consequences’, at a town hall meeting.
The town hall meeting was organised by Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Barnawa branch in partnership with Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Kaduna Ecclesiastical Province, Justice Development and Peace Caritas (JDPC), Catholic Archdiocese of Kaduna with the theme ‘Free Fair and Credible Elections: The People’s Right’.
Prof Ango who was represented by spokesperson of NEF, Dr Hakeem Baba Ahmed said, “2023 election is going to test whether Nigerians are willing to fight for their country now or they are going to profoundly solve the problems of this country”.
“Don’t vote for anybody on sentiment. For the sake of our future and for the sake of our grandchildren, let us save this country, we must vote.
“Where there are security issues that are preventing you from voting, the government must secure the people so that they can go and vote and we must vote for the right people.
“It is irresponsible to vote for somebody because he bears your ethnic identity, vote for competency and capacity.
“There is need for Nigerians to believe in INEC process. Northern Elders Forum believes that INEC needs to improve on its publicity but we have faith in this election. They have done well but they need the support of the government, politicians and the electorate because they cannot conduct a free election without their support”.
Ango reiterated that the government and Nigerians should support INEC to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
On his part, the coordinator, JDPC, Kaduna Archdiocese, Rev Fr Joshua Achir, advised politicians to have the fear of God, saying they should fulfill their campaign promises and stop deceiving people, he added.
According to him, Nigerian leaders should ensure they deliver the dividends of democracy and stop making empty promises.
“We are trying to do the needful by educating our people to go out and get their Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs),” he noted.
On his part, chairman of NBA, Barnawa branch, Bar Vitus Azuka Ewuzie, urged Nigerians to go out and vote on election day, saying that it is their fundamental right.