By Ralph Madugu
Christian elders, under the umbrella of National Christian Elders Forum, have called on Nigerians to ensure that they elect competent, trustworthy, capable leaders into the various political office on February 25 and March 11.
They advised Nigerians to shun politics of religion and tribalism and vote people into offices on the basis of capacity, ability, integrity, and good health emphasizing that “a sick country requires healthy leaders.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), is to conduct elections into the office of the president, senate, House of Representatives, governorship and state houses of assembly on February 25 and March 11 respectively.
The NCEF gave the advice in a document released ahead of the general elections.
In the document titled, “Towards 2023 Elections: THINK NEW,” the elders said they “progressively considered and reviewed the state of the country” as the country prepares for “decisive elections from February 2023,” adding that it also “assessed the state of preparedness of the country as well as the crucial need for Nigerians to vote into office competent, trustworthy, and capable leaders.”
While commending the Federal Government for taking steps to curb vote buying during the 2023 elections and acknowledged some inconveniences that the policy of currency change has brought on the people, NCEF maintained that the long-term benefits should be appreciated.
The elders tasked the Federal Government to spare no efforts in preventing violence during the elections and that the reports that some regions were preparing to unleash violence during the elections should not be taken lightly.
While appealing to eligible Nigerians to go out and exercise their civic rights, the NCEF emphasized that the elections were about national integration, national reconciliation and national unity that would lead to social, economic and physical infrastructural development for the benefit of all and generations yet unborn.
To ensure the survival of democracy in Nigeria and the culture of corruption, incompetency, lawlessness, and impunity, which assailed the country in the past 24 years is eradicated, the elders encouraged Nigerians to THINK NEW stating that the country requires “new leaders, new methods, new policies, and new political parties.”
They also applauded the “noticeable change in the attitude” of many Nigerians towards the election of leaders for the country.
“From the North to the South, and from the East to the West, there is apparent shift from politics of religion and tribalism to endorsement of leaders based on merit and ability to perform.
“Nigerians are beginning to attach premium importance to capacity and integrity rather than the primordial emotional choices which afforded unqualified and incompetent people access to leadership positions,” the NCEF stated.