*says not killing it would breed a monster that would linger
By; KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
Chairman of the Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF), Engineer Oyinehi Inalegwu Ejoga has warned that to prevent it from becoming a norm in Nigeria, Christians and others from other faith must rise up in unison against the same faith ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections.
Engineer Ejoga expressed this, while delivering a keynote address at the NOSCEF.2022 Congress on Saturday November 5, 2022 in Kaduna.
“Christians in the North must kill the one faith ticket.
“Make the single faith ticket unattractive for the future, by killing it now or render yourselves forever an irrelevant commodity in the election equation for the future. A people easily persuaded by personal and selfish gains to the destruction of the Body will be a Judas to the Christendom.
“We enjoin all lovers of Nigeria across faith to reject the single faith ticket to frustrate politics
of exclusion that is mindful of regional balance but insensitive to faith inclusion,” he said.
According to him, unpatriotic politicians will use any formula they can apply to win election, whether it hurts or not and promise to placade as APC is doing after all the pleas. They will discard any formula that makes them loose election in the future.
While highlighting successes of the NOSCEF executive from 2019 to 2022, he said a lot was achieved.
“When we took over, we appreciated that “it was a call to serve God in His vineyard and we “trusted in God’s faithfulness to equip us to serve, totally depending on Him” to help us.
“We came in when the attacks on Christians in the North and insecurity was at its peak and have witnessed further escalation of the deliberate attempt on the part of the Governments to increasingly marginalize Christians in public appointments, economic patronage, Political and social space.
“We committed ourselves to mobilizing Senior Christian Citizens in the North from all spheres of life to become active members at state and national levels.
“We pledged to speak out against injustice, deceit, discrimination, corruption and other ills of the society.
“We said we will seek alternative means of empowering our people economically, socially and politically.
“We pledged to build peace within our people where there are crises.
Our Press Releases on Mai Tangale attracted Government response,” he said.
He explained that NOSCEF also influenced a scholarship for an indigent student from Minna, Niger State
“She got a scholarship to Igbenidion University to read Medicine and scholarship to read same in Benue State University (BENSU),” he added.
On the tragic incidence of Deborah Samuel murder in Sokoto, he said that NOSCEF prompted intervention and subsequent relocation of the family amidst
Still on efforts made at ensuring religious inclusion, the group long before the APC Presidential primaries in 2022, he explained that in December 2021, ahead of the primaries, they warned the party to shelve the idea, following rumours.
On Plateau and Southern Kaduna killings, he said that while the military were commending themselves on successes in the North West, the group caught the world’s attention by pointing out that the change of security architecture from the change in the security chiefs of staff,
did not reflect of national diversity
“The one on grazing reserves, cattle routes and Insecurity sensitized the Nation to reject them in every form.
“The release on unity at Independence, exposed hypocrisy of a government advocating unity
and raising nepotism to its highest height In appointments especially in key areas of security and key ministries.
“We have sustained highlighting the harm, a single faith ticket, will foster on the nation. The press releases have also generated bad blood against us for crying out against injustice and the ills of the society,” he said.
The Chairman praised some few elders for sacrificing to contribute money for running of NOSCEF.
“Ex NOSCEF chairman came to our aid with assistance through us to 17 Northern States with NOSCEF
branches in many states and distributed to vulnerable Christians across local govts, in the spirit of
Christianity Empowerment Programme,” he revealed.
Engineer Ejoga assured that a ground work for youth empowerment has been concluded, with Nasarawa State chosen as pilot scheme to kick start as reported on their platform.
“The promised funding is being awaited to commence the implementation.
“If our heart is in the programme, then we must kick start it with the resources we are able to
mobilize and surely good hearted brethren/NGO’s will key in.
“We must not expect people to come and fund a programme that we ourselves will not put forth
our money to fund,” he said.
He stressed that NOSCEF as an alternative pressure group has made the greatest impact through
sensitizing and enlightening our people and mobilizing them through their press releases
“Making government and the affected know the feelings of Christians taking center stage and endearing a common stand amongst Christians on issues of interest,” he said.
NOSCEF lamented that insecurity in Kaduna has taken its toll on the attendance at the congress, while expressing optimism that by their
next congress, the insecurity would have been overcome.
In a paper presented by Guest Speaker, Professor J.A. Onaolapo, he charged Christians to participate actively in politics to produce leaders that will change the country positively.
Christians were urged to wake up in their responsibility in terms of politics.
He said that, “Church leaders must encourage their members to participate in politics. We must see ourselves as stakeholders in the country.”
In a goodwill message, Chairman of Northern CAN, in his goodwill message, said that challenges of poverty, bad leadership and others can be changed through the ballot.
“How can you tell me that in Kaduna State, Christians are 30 per cent. Just in Kaduna South and Kaduna North we are more than 30 per cent and I want us to go and prove that in the elections,” he said.
Represented by his vice, Very Reverend Father Andrew Dodo, he said, “In 2019, when Makarfi, Namadi and Ashiru lost in their wards we went to ask them why they lost in their wards, they could not answer.
“This time around, I care about who emerges governor of Kaduna State.
“The reason why we are finding ourselves where we are is that we pretend,” he declared.
Representative of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Candidate for Southern Kaduna Senatorial District, Honourable Sunday Marshall Katung, Honourable Edward Marshal in his goodwill message, said that Christians must resist the Muslim-Muslim ticket.
” NOSCEF is not speaking alone for Christians, but all the downtrodden, I commend you for this.
“If we want to excel we must plan. We are frustrated and neglected, following killings and other hardship. I would encourage a collaboration between NOSCEF. Let’s not rush in taking decision. But a Muslim-Muslim ticket is a no go area. A Christian president may not be the solution,” he said.