A coalition of Christians under the aegis of National Christian Elders Forum has excluded President Muhammadu Buhari and Mr Atiku Abubakar from its consultation meeting with presidential candidates. The meeting which is for 2019 general elections is scheduled for Friday in Lagos.
Prominent members of NCEF are Solomon Asemota (Chairman); former Minister of Defense Theophilus Danjuma, Joseph Otubu, Joshua Dogonyaro, Magnus Atilade, Kate Okpareke, Ayo Abifarin, Zamani Lekwot, Moses Ihonde, Nat Okoro and Matthew Owojaiye.
Others are Kalajine Anigbogu Shyngle Wigwe, P. L. Dabup, John Bagu, Saleh Hussaini, Mike Orobator, James Ogebe, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Debo Omotosho, Priscilla Kuye, S. D. Gani, Mrs Osaretin Demuren, Yussuf Turaki and Bosun Emmanuel (Secretary).
The group said Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate Abubakar 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 PDP and APC.”
In a statement, 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 calls from concerned Nigerians that NCEF should engage the new presidential candidates. By this notice, NCEF is inviting new presidential candidates to a consultation meeting.
“By new presidential candidates, NCEF refers to candidates who have not been running for the office before as well as those not on the platform of PDP and APC. The concern of 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.”