A coalition of Christians under the aegis of the National Christian Elders Forum has excluded President Muhammadu Buhari and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from its consultation meeting with the presidential candidates. The meeting is for the 2019 general elections scheduled for Lagos on Friday.
The prominent members of the NCEF are Solomon Asemota (Chairman); former Minister of Defence Lt Gen Theophilus Danjuma, Prof. Joseph Otubu, Joshua Dogonyaro, Archbishop Magnus Atilade, Dr Kate Okpareke, Dr Ayo Abifarin, Major Gen Zamani Lekwot, Moses Ihonde, Nat Okoro and Matthew Owojaiye.
Others are Justice Kalajine Anigbogu (retd.), Shyngle Wigwe, P. L. Dabup, John Bagu, Dr Saleh Hussaini, Mike Orobator, Justice James Ogebe (retd.), Dr. Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Chief Debo Omotosho, Priscilla Kuye, S. D. Gani, Mrs Osaretin Demuren, Prof Yussuf Turaki and Bosun Emmanuel (Secretary).
The group said the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate Atiku and his All Progressives Congress rival Buhari would not take part in the meeting because their parties “turned the country into the poverty capital of the world”.
When our correspondent asked the secretary of the group Emmanuel to explain who the presidential candidates for the meeting were, he said, “They are candidates who have not been running for the office before as well as those not on the platform of the PDP and the APC.”
In a statement, the NCEF said the meeting was organised by them to promote new presidential candidates, advising Nigerians to support new presidential candidates as viable righteous options for the next election.
The statement read in part, “This meeting is as a result of the calls from concerned Nigerians that the NCEF should engage the new presidential candidates. By this notice, the NCEF is inviting new presidential candidates to a consultation meeting.
“By new presidential candidates, the NCEF refers to candidates who have not been running for the office before as well as those not on the platform of the PDP and the APC. The concern of the NCEF is that both parties mismanaged the economy and the society in the past 20 years.
“Jointly, they devalued the Naira by over 1,600 per cent, while increasing the cost of fuel by 625 per cent. They permitted insecurity in the country and escalated religious and ethnic tensions all over the nation. The two parties looted the treasury empty and impoverished Nigerians.”