A former presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress, Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim, has advised politicians to shun ethnoreligious campaigns that could spike violence as the elections drew nigh.
According to The Punch, Olawepo-Hashim gave the advice as the campaign for the 2023 elections begins to generate political volatility.
The APC chieftain who was the presidential candidate of the Trust Party in the 2019 election, gave the advice in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him the candidates and their campaign organisations were complicating the ethnic and religious tensions in Nigeria in their efforts to win votes in 2023.
Olawepo-Hashim said most of the campaigners were churning out messages with ethnic and religious nuances, adding that “our polity has never descended this low since our independence as a nation and since our return to democratic rule in 1999.”
He recalled that in the First and Second Republics, the political parties were identified and known by their plans, programmes and principles, unlike the present situation where contestants “are busy talking about tribe, creed and crowd they can parade on the streets.”
“It is time for the leaders of the various political parties to check the activities of their campaigns where their messages seem to undermine our national unity. The Independent National Electoral Commission, National Orientation Agency and other relevant state institutions must step up their games,” he stated.
He said what serious-minded Nigerians were interested in was how to get Nigeria back as a major player in the remaining short time of fossil fuel as a dominant energy source and how to immediately resolve the debt to revenue crisis.
Olawepo-Hashim also called on politicians to focus on “the fiscal plan to tame the cost-pushed inflation, high unemployment rate, insecurity and burgeoning poverty pandemic.”
Commenting on the skirmishes between the political parties, the Convener of the United Global Resolve for Peace, Olaseni Shalom, commended INEC for calling for a meeting with them, noting that candidates are resorting to harmful tribal sentiments.