Atiku, Obi meet CAN leaders ahead of elections

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From Fred Ezeh, AbujaPresidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, met with the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Abuja, on Tuesday, in continuation of interactive session key stakeholders ahead of the 2023 general elections.They were accompanied by several members of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, including Darius Ishaku, Bukola Saraki, Liyel Imoke, Obiora Okonkwo, Dele Momodu, Dino Melaye, among several others.Similarly, presidential candidate of the Labour Party Mr Peter Obi alongside his delegation also met with the leadership of CAN, as part of interactive session to secure the commitment of the candidates to issues that concern Christian communities in Nigeria.Last week, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, and that of the Accord Party, Prof. Christopher Imumolen, and few others met with CAN leaders for similar purposes.CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, in his welcome remarks, explained that the meeting was organized to get acquainted with the candidates and present to the a document, “charter”, that contains the suggestions and requests of the CAN for whoever wins the presidential election next year.He maintained that CAN is apolitical, and has not changed its position on same-faith ticket, Muslim-Muslim, as presented by APC, contrary to some media reports from the fallout of last week’s meeting with APC candidate, Tinubu, that suggested that CAN has changed its position on same-faith ticket.He stated that the document highlighted items that, if implemented, would pull Nigeria out of dungeon of underdevelopment and backwardness, and position it for greater glory, thus soliciting the commitment of candidates to the implementation of the content of the document.Senior CAN official who presented the highlights of the “charter” said, “our problem as a nation is mostly constitutional and partly managerial. We have to properly diagnose the constitutional roots of our problem as a people. The founders of Nigeria in 1960 set for themselves and future generations of Nigerians a grand vision of a prosperous and united country founded on justice and equity. Today, that vision has not been realized.“Nigeria is a poor and conflict-ridden country with neither justice nor equity. Nigeria failed because of incoherence between the vision of justice, prosperity and unity in diversity, and its institutions and practices of politics and economy.“In place of inclusion, Nigeria instituted and entrenched the politics of exclusion; in place of protection of fundamental rights, Nigeria embraced violations of the rights of its peoples; in place of justice for all, Nigeria practiced privilege for the few; and in place of secular, democratic governance, Nigeria promoted theocratic, neo-feudal governance.”He observed that beyond constitutional issues to the rescue, Nigeria need to have urgent managerial interventions, stressing that leadership failure has compounded the constitutional dysfunction of the Nigerian state.“Fixing constitution may be a longer process and some of the features of a constitutional change are not completely in the control of the President. But there are administrative actions that will help recover Nigeria and restart it on the path of development and freedom.“The key leadership failure is that Nigerian leadership elites have been reluctant to address the root of the Nigerian crisis. They have rather acted to compound these crises. The new President of Nigeria must start on a different note. He must undertake strategic actions on three fronts, namely, nationality and citizenship, religion and the state, devolution of government function.”Atiku, in his remarks, commended CAN for the opportunity to meet and discuss the issues that concern Nigeria, promising to champion the cause of constitution review, particularly as regards policing and indigenship.On his side, Obi described the document “charter” as solution to Nigeria’s problem, with a promise to work on the document for the betterment of Nigeria.He said that Nigeria presents every indication of a failed State because it has lost control of its territory and economy, hence it requires a leader with physical and mental energy to pilot its affairs otherwise, the country will be doomed.He said: “next year’s election shouldn’t be based on tribe, religion but on competence and capacity. We should carefully examine the antecedents of the people seeking political offices in the next election. The north would have been the most developed state in Nigeria if we are to go by tribe and religion in elections. Unfortunately, the top poorest states in Nigeria are from the north. What we have today is cumulative effect of bad leadership over the years which has resulted in the crisis.”



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