Hope Uzodimma, governor of Imo, says the focus of Nigerians should be on issues like insecurity and oil theft, rather than the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He said this on Friday while speaking with state house correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said Nigerians need to work together to bring an end to banditry and oil theft in order to restore the economy.
He also appealed to the media to stop making the APC’s decision to field Muslims as presidential and vice-presidential candidates a matter for headlines, but that candidates should be allowed to campaign, and the electorate allowed to decide on who to vote for.
“I think that even the media, I want to use this opportunity to invite you people to prioritise our area of interest. First, the mood of the country today is not about who the candidates are,” he said.
“The mood of the country is that two or three years ago, we were producing 2.1 million barrels of crude oil every day. For over 12 years, that has been our main source of foreign exchange. Suddenly, because of the activities of those who have anti-national interest, we’ve lost over a million barrels and barely managing to produce one million.
“I think we should rise in unison to condemn the activities of crude oil theft by anti-Nigerian interest groups and bring back the economy of the country, because you have to have a country first before you have a president.
“Look at the quantum of banditry going on in Nigeria today, to the extent that bandits are courageously even coming into the capital city. We should rise in unison and condemn these activities.
“We should make emphasis on things that will unite the country and by the grace of God, abandon those things that are capable of dismembering the country. Our national interest is important. Our national unity is important. Our ability to live together as brothers and sisters is also important.
“The primary purpose of the government is for the security of lives and property and the welfare of our citizens. To what extent have we supported federal government in achieving this primary purpose?
“Those are things that should occupy our minds now. But if you throw Nigeria into a situation where religious dichotomy, ethnic jingoism will be at the front burner, it means you are working against Nigeria.
“So, let us allow political parties who have chosen their candidates, no matter the religion where they come from, to go out and do their campaign.
“It is left for the electorate to reject the ticket by not voting for them or accept the ticket by voting for them. But if we continue to make these things headlines, you are heating up our polity unnecessarily. I want to beg you in the name of God, let us save our country.”
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