2023: Don’t vote based on religion, ethnicity, IPAC advises voters
Ahead of the 2023 general election, the Chairman of Inter Party Advisory Committee (IPAC), Yabagi Sani, an engineer, has enjoined the electorate not to cast their votes on the basis of the primordial sentiments of religion and ethnicity.
Speaking at a conference organised by the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) in collaboration with Alliance for Policy Advocacy and Development to mark the International Democracy Day in Abuja, he noted that competence should be the yardstick to elect candidates vying for various elective seats in the country.
Represented by Mr. Egbeola Olawale Martins, Sani said it was unfortunate that the ruling elite have been exploiting religion and tribalism as a divisive tool to perpetuate their stranglehold on power over the years.
Decrying the appalling level of poverty in the country, he called on Nigerians to eschew bitterness and intolerance irrespective of their ethnic, religious and political leanings ahead of the 2023 polls.
His words: “Political tolerance remains sacrosanct if we must move forward as a nation. We must learn to respect other people’s choices and opinions. If we can work on that platform, there would be peace all over the world. Lack of respect for people, religion, ethnicity and political views is the reason there is conflict. Here in Nigeria, it is worse.
“A key tenet of democracy is tolerance. It’s a game of numbers. Those with majority would always have electoral victory but it doesn’t mean they are always right. I will rather be among minority that is on the right side than be in the other wrong group.
“The reason our political leaders subject Nigerians to the level we are today is due to poverty and intolerance. They weaponise it; they use it as a tool to negotiate. That is why in IPAC we tell electorates not to die in their war. For them, it is we versus the peoples. The only thing that unites the ruling class is corruption.
“So voting shouldn’t be based on religion or ethnicity. If you want to join the plane, you are going to look for a competent pilot not necessarily your kinsman. The same applies if you are sick and is to be operated upon. You would go for a competent doctor or physician. So, why not the issue of governance which is where we tend to look at it from lens of ethnicity and religion.”
He reiterated the resolve by IPAC to promote issue-based debates among politicians jostling for various elective seats to move the country forward.
NYCN President, Mr. Solomon Adodo, also said it was imperative that youths shun the temptation to indulge in violence and other divisive tendencies aimed at fanning the embers of hatred in the country.