By Jeremiah Urowayino
As Nigerians celebrate democracy day on June 12, Delta State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu has called on the people to de-emphasize ethnicity, religion, and other primordial sentiments as they elect a new set of leaders for the country in the 2023 general elections.
Aniagwu who was x-raying the impact of dividends of democracy on citizens said the political class has not been able to give strength to the spirit of June 12.
Speaking on Channels TV “News Across Nigeria”, on Monday, Aniagwu opined that Nigerians must look beyond casting their votes based on ethnicity and religious tendencies in other to elect credible candidates that would work for the good of the country.
According to him, leaders have not been able to inspire trust in the people they lead and that’s why individuals want their brothers or those who profess the same religion with them to be in office.
“But what is more important is that even if the person leading you is of a different religion and life becomes better for the average Nigerian that should be paramount in our mind.
“In this election, we have notable candidates like Atiku Abubakar, Bola Tinubu, Peter Obi and of course Rabiu Kwankwaso among others.
“These individuals we know and in a couple of days their running mates would emerge and we will also look at the pedigree of their running mates and what they have contributed to national development on their own part,” he said.
The Delta Information Commissioner urged Nigerians to show more interest in who governs them, adding that the era of staying aloof was over.
“Everybody must be interested and I am very happy with the interest of Nigerians in the collection of Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs) I do hope that INEC would be able to meet up the expectations of Nigerians.
“This is imperative so that when they approach the ballot they should be able to look at those things that will be able to add value to the development of the country which of course is meeting the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
“The issue of religion and ethnicity would have become something that we have to think less about because ethnicity, religion and these other class issues have not helped us in any way.
“I look forward to a situation where Nigerians will look at the pedigree of individuals aspiring for political offices when they approach the ballot.
“Nigerians must take a look at those running as presidential candidates and those assisting them as running mates because if we begin to emphasise on religion, governance is not a church neither is it a mosque where you must begin to bring out the Bible or the Holy Quoran.
“Yes you need the presence of God and good enough the two religions also professes the presence of God.
“But if we must give strength to what happened on June 12, 1993, we must move beyond these primordial sentiments and look at the pedigree of these individuals and the strength that they bring to the table as they pilot the affairs of the country.
“That’s the only way we can move out of the doldrums we have found ourselves at the moment,” Aniagwu added.
He advocated for a bottom-to-top approach to governance that would keep governments abreast of the needs and aspirations of the people they lead.
“Here in Delta, the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration has ensured that democracy endures in the spirit of June 12.
“We have carried out town hall meetings across the 25 local government areas of the state which enabled us to execute programmes that reflect the yearnings and aspirations of the people.
“Through the town hall meetings, we undertook the bottom-top approach in knowing what the people need as against what the leader thinks.
“As we progress to 2023, we do hope that leaders across the country will adopt this kind of approach in articulating the needs of the people.
“Today Nigerians desire that they have a secured country, stable power supply, and a functional educational system.
“They also desire a united nation where the Muslims and Christians from the North and South will see themselves as one Nigeria,” Aniagwu said.