Deputy Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has assured Nigerians that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) will respect religious diversity by not fielding a presidential ticket with two people of the same religion in the 2023 presidential election.
He stated this on Thursday in Abuja when he hosted members of the Christian Association of Nigerian (CAN), led by its President, Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle.
Senator Omo-Agege charged all political parties to balance their presidential tickets among major faiths in Nigeria.
Responding to a call by the CAN president opposing all-Muslim and all-Christian presidential candidates and running mates in the next general election, Senator Omo-Agege stressed that the APC has always been mindful of that in its choice of candidates for elective and appointive positions.
He buttressed his argument with the 2015 APC primaries where the party averted a Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket.
While urging the Church to pray for leaders holding political offices at all times, the Deputy Senate President emphasized the need for religious bodies to use their platforms to enlighten Nigerians on the need to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
By doing so, he said they would not only be protecting themselves against the pandemic but also their loved ones and those around them.
Earlier, CAN President, Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle cautioned politicians against heating up the polity with unguarded utterances, even as he called for synergy between the body and the National Assembly.
The cleric also kicked against the idea of Muslim-Muslim or Christian-Christian presidential candidates and running mates ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
“Concerning the 2023 elections, we would admonish you, politicians, not to heat up the polity in any way as the campaigns are opened by guarding your utterances.
“There is already tension in the land because of insecurity.
“We equally want to urge you on Presidency that a balance of both religious practitioners be considered. We don’t want a Christian/Christian ticket nor a Muslim/Muslim ticket. We want a situation that would produce a pair of the two religions in other to douse religious tension.
“Though people say religion does not matter in Nigeria and here in Africa, religion is part of our identity. To say that religion does not matter is to underrate what can tear the nation apart if it is not carefully handled,” he added.
Ayokunle also called on the government to create the enabling environment for investments to thrive, as he made a case for incentives, tax exemptions ‘to local manufacturers on some goods’