Presidential campaign must not reduce debate to cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity – Lukman

Salisu Mohd Lukman

June 11 (THEWILL) – National Vice President, northwest of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Mohd Lukman, has warned that for the country to move forward, the 2023 presidential campaigns must not reduce important debates to sentimental considerations of ethnicity and religion.

The former chief executive of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), said the APC would not rely on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity to choose its running mate for its presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He argued that the adoption of ethnic and religious considerations in decision-making in the past not only blocked development but also further divided the masses of the country.

Reacting to the current debate over a Muslim-Muslim ticket for the ruling party in the 2023 presidential election, Lukman, in a statement titled “Problems for the 2023 APC presidential campaign,” warned against such considerations. paramount as the standard-bearer of the choices of the party in power. his running mate before the June 17 deadline set by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Admitting the importance of ethnicity and religion, the APC leader argued that political leaders should not be allowed to rely on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity to win elections of opportunistic way.

He argued that, as “important as ethnic and religious identities are, addressing the challenges facing the country requires that political leaders not be allowed to rely on cheap sentiments of religion and ethnicity to win elections opportunistically.

“If Nigeria is to move forward, the 2023 presidential campaigns must not diminish important debates about Nigeria’s progress towards sentimental considerations of ethnicity and religion. If truth is to be told, Islam and Christianity, along with all our ethnic factors have been used in equal measure to keep Nigeria at a standstill.

He alleged that many religious and ethnic leaders have used and are still using religion and ethnicity to pollute the minds of Nigerians against each other.

According to him, “if Nigerian politics is to overcome the adversities of these so-called religious and ethnic leaders, the religious and ethnic backgrounds of the leaders must be subordinated to the experiential attributes of those considered for leadership.”
Lukman pointed out that regardless of the final choice of Asiwaju and APC leaders regarding who emerges as running mate, the 2023 presidential election will be hotly contested, regardless of Asiwaju Tinubu’s religious and ethnic identity and from anyone.

He advised APC leaders to recognize that the 2023 elections present another golden opportunity for the APC to reinvent itself.
Lukman argued that the overriding sentiments expressed before the APC flag bearer emerged showed that for the country to move forward, we must let go of those considerations.
According to the former executive director of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), “against very strong feelings and dominant ethnic and religious policies, which weigh heavily against Asiwaju, both within the APC, but perhaps further promoted by a highly sectarian and conservative strategy of winning cheap votes from Nigerians by the PDP and their supporters, which led to the emergence of Alh.Atiku Abubakar, as the PDP presidential candidate for the 2023 elections, Asiwaju Tinubu became the APC’s presidential candidate.

As the opposition uses the challenges facing the country as campaign tools to further divide Nigerians, Lukman indicated that “APC’s 2023 presidential campaign must be about uniting citizens to move Nigeria forward. It should be questions and proposals for nation building.
“It must be about pushing Nigerians to make all the tough decisions based on respect, fairness and fair representation. That is what the presidential candidacy of Asiwaju Tinubu should represent. presidential election of 2023 on the basis of a convincing promise of national unity.

“A major objective of the 2023 APC presidential campaign should be to correct all the false narratives propagated by opposition parties that the APC government has failed. The campaign should instead focus more on showcasing the achievements of the federal government led by APC, which aims to rebuild the country. For example, achievements in the areas of social investment, infrastructure and agriculture can effectively provide the contrasting scorecard of APC. Since its emergence as a party in the power in 2015, the federal government APC implemented the National Social Investment Program (NSIP), which is far more than any government has done in the past.Founded on the four pillars of N-Power , Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), Local School Feeding and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Program (GEEP), millions of poor Nigerians are benefiting t of these initiatives. For example, GEEP has disbursed N36.9 billion in interest-free loans ranging from N50,000 to N350,000 to over 2.3 million Nigerians. Through the Home-Grown School Feeding Program, 9.9 million students in grades 1 through 3 in 54,952 public elementary schools in 35 states benefit. 107,000 additional cooks have been hired. In the case of conditional cash transfers, over 3 million poor and vulnerable households have been registered in the national social registry, of which over 1 million families are currently receiving 5,000 naira per month.

“In the area of ​​infrastructure, when President Buhari’s administration took office in 2015, the total federal roads budget of the outgoing PDP government of former President Goodluck Jonathan was N18 billion, which is not only about 25% of the Lagos State road budget for this year. Persistent skeletal funding has resulted in abandoned or slow-moving road projects across the country. APC administration has increased the road budget allocation to more than 200 billion naira a year.In addition, more resources have been spent on road and transport infrastructure construction than any other administration since 1999, and the results are roads, bridges , highways, railways and stations, as well as improvements to airports and seaports.Currently, there are approximately 900 active road contracts covering construction, reconstruction or rehabilitation. clearance of more than 13,000 km of federal roads and highways across the country, out of a total of 35,000 km of existing federal roads.

“In the area of ​​agriculture, the government of President Buhari, led by the APC, has established the National Food Security Council (NFSC), the Agriculture for Food and Jobs Plan (AFJP ), National Livestock Transformation Plan, Anchor Borrower Program (ABP), Presidential Fertilizer Initiative. (PFI) and creating an enabling environment. Specifically, PBA, for example, implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria since 2015, has provided over N300 billion to over 3.1 million smallholder farmers of 21 different commodities (including rice, wheat, maize, cotton, cassava, poultry, soybeans, peanuts). , Fish), across Nigeria, successfully cultivating over 3.8 million hectares of farmland. PFI has produced and delivered to the Nigerian market more than 30 million equivalent 50 kg bags of fertilizer, at discounted prices; and resulted in the revival or construction of no less than 40 moribund fertilizer blending plants across the country. Nigeria now has 44 functioning blending plants, with more on the way through the President’s Fertilizer Initiative (PFI).

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