The Mayor of Urhoboland and notable Niger Delta ex-militant leader, Eshanekpe Israel, a.k.a Akpodoro has called on Nigerians to disabuse their minds on the same-faith ticket by any political party vying for the presidency in 2023 general elections, maintaining that, “of interest should be visionary leadership, proven track record, capacity, statesmanship, competence, patriotism and national solidarity,” as he expects the 2023 presidential contest to break the jinx of religion in the annals of Nigeria’s history.

The youth leader stated this in Asaba on the sidelines of a well-attended national conference of Urhobo Youths Worldwide as he expressed concern over what he termed religious distraction over major issues bothering the growth and betterment of the Nigerian state and her citizens as he admitted that “if allowed to thrive, religion is a keg of gunpowder capable of igniting anarchy in the nation while he called on the electorates to undermine issues and focused more on political personalities.”

“Religion,” the Mayor noted, “is not Nigeria’s problem but a dearth of visionary leadership who he said will rule and develop Nigeria evenly, eschewing nepotism, corruption, sectionalism, inequitable distribution of resources and racketeering in the seat of power.”

He further stated that among the major contestants for the exalted seat of the Presidency, Nigerians should dwell more on the man with an impeccable track record in service delivery to his people and vote massively for their candidate without pulling the national structure adding that, Nigeria as a nation is greater 2023 election.

He commended the General Abdulsalami Abubakar Peace Committee for causing the Peace Accord to be signed by the candidates of political parties saying, Nigerians need a progressive government and not war as he further admonished political gladiators to focus mainly on issues and avoid attacks on personalities.

His Excellency Akpodoro was a major force among the Niger Delta ex-militants who played a major in the disarmament of recalcitrant militants at the declaration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP; he was also handy for the Nigerian military during the armed resurgence led by the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA at the inception of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress, APC, administration in 2016.

He advised Nigerians to look beyond religion and focus more on the peaceful conduct and success of the 2023 general elections saying; “In as much as we are not endorsing any presidential candidate until further notice, it is good we are peaceful and engage only in campaigns that will attract votes to our candidates. Nigeria is not at war and won’t pander to religious sentiments neither would the electorates support a party that has no regard for the heterogeneity of the Nigerian state in the spirit of the rotational presidency, we are still watching and undecided on who to follow but surely we have those political ingredients that will inform our choice of candidate.

“As a people, my Urhobo nation won’t vote for a separatist candidate who will divide Nigeria further, rather, we need a Nigerian and not a sectional President with the propensity of throwing the unity and indivisibility of the Nigerian state to the dogs. 2023 is our decisive year and Nigeria must come out of it stronger and more reliable,” the Gbaregolor Ughelli South vociferous Mayor stated conclusion that the people of the Niger Delta are still licking their wounds inflicted on them through “one man’s perfidy against the Delta region.”


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.