Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) has counselled political parties to ensure that their candidates are campaigning based on issues during the 2023 electioneering process, urging Nigerian electorates to take candidates resorting to fanning of embers of ethnicity and religion as enemies of the country who have nothing to offer the people.
In a statement signed by its Secretary General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, CNPP said that the recent comment credited to the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, was a serious breach of the National Peace Accord he recently signed.
The CNPP added that “inciting people of one’s ethnicity or religious extraction against others after signing National Peace Accord with a pledge to commit to campaigns based on their programmes and the capacity to deliver on campaign promises is a national disservice that must be condemned.”
“After watching the video clip and studying the comments made by the PDP presidential candidate, it became clear that Alhaji Atiku Abubakar underplayed the relevance of competence and highly elevated ethnic bigotry to the criteria for determining who succeeds President Muhammadu Buhari on May 29, 2023.
“Telling Northerners that they need to vote for him rather than a Yoruba or Igbo candidate because he’s a Pan-Nigerian of a northern origin was clear departure from his earlier slogan as a unifier.
“His defence, instead of a simple apology, after saying that “What the average Northerner needs is somebody who’s from the north and also understands that part of the country and has been able to build bridges across the country,” and insisting that “This is what the Northerner needs, it doesn’t need a Yoruba or Igbo candidate, I stand before you as a Pan-Nigerian of northern origin”, is unacceptable. It’s like saying I am black but I stand before you as white, the CNPP said.
“As the umbrella body of registered political parties and political associations in Nigeria, and a committed advocate for the rule of law, transparency in governance and popular participation in the democratic process, the CNPP has a duty to stand at all times with the masses as we have always done.
“In the last seven years of the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration, the ethno-religious gap in the country has widened and to have an ethnic and religious minded President in 2023 will be worse than the worst known natural disaster ever in Nigeria.
“It is time to bring about national healing as any form of exclusion will take Nigeria back to the kind of life in the stone age.
“Today, life in Nigeria is already poor, nasty, brutish, and short. We cannot afford to go lower as a country as any further descent will spell doom for us as a country and further jeopardize our oneness as Nigerians.
“We therefore urge all political parties to stick to campaign based on issues and the leadership qualities of their candidates, not religion or ethnicity”, the CNPP stated.