The National Christian Elders Forum, being piloted by a former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma, and other elder statesmen, has endorsed the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi for the February 25 elections.
While calling on the Federal Government not to spare efforts to prevent violence during the elections, the nationalists urged Nigerians to shun politics of religion and tribalism.
They called on Nigerians to vote candidates into offices based on capacity, ability, integrity, and good health because, “a sick country requires hearty leaders.
The Christian elders bared their minds in a statement titled, “Resolutions towards 2023 elections: Think new”, signed by its chairman Dr. Samuel Gani and Secretary, Pastor Bosun Emmanuel, obtained by The PUNCH in Abuja on Tuesday.
Members of the NECF included Dr. Saleh Hussaini, Vice Chairman (North), Elder Shyngle Wigwe, Vice Chairman (South), Mrs. Osaretin Demuren, Prof. Joseph Otubu, Dr. Kate Okpareke, Dr. Ayo Abifarin, Gen. Zamani Lekwot (retd), Hon. Justice James Ogebe (retd), and Elder Moses Ihonde.
Others are Hon. Justice Kalajine Anigbogu (retd.), Elder Nat Okoro, Solomon Asemota (SAN), Elder Matthew Owojaiye, DIG P. L. Dabup, Sir John W. Bagu, Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Dame Priscilla Kuye, Prof. Deborah Ajakaiye, His Royal Majesty Oba Dokun Thompson, and Dr. Taiwo Idemudia.
The statement read, “In view of the need to ensure that democracy survives in Nigeria and the culture of corruption, incompetency, lawlessness, and impunity, which assailed the country in the past 24 years is eradicated, NCEF encourages Nigerians to think new.
“Nigeria requires new leaders, new methods, new policies, and new political parties. In view of the above for equity, justice, inclusiveness, and unity to produce the preferred future for Nigerians.
“The National Christian Elders Forum is endorsing Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party as the Presidential candidate to be voted for. NCEF encourages all Nigerians of voting age to exercise their civic duty and ensure that they vote for capacity, competency, integrity, and good health. Nigerians, think new!”
They further disclosed 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.
“NCEF commends the Federal Government for taking steps to curb vote-buying during the 2023 elections. While the policy of currency change has brought some inconvenience to the people, the long-term benefit should be appreciated. It is crucial that vote-buying must be prevented at all costs to prevent unqualified and incapable persons from bribing their way into power,” it added.
The NCEF reiterated the call to all Nigerians that the next elections should be about national integration, national reconciliation and national unity that would lead to social, economic, and physical infrastructural development for the benefit of all and sundry.