From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Christ Embassy Church, Kaduna, has sensitised the electorate towards the 2023 general elections and advised them to kick against being used as hooligans and thugs to cause violence during the elections.
Speakers after speakers who at a public lecture organised by the church frowned at thuggery before, during and after the elections, explaining they must use the ballot boxes, and not bullet to vote for the candidate of their choice.
The theme of the public lecture was entitled, ‘2023: Ballot, not Bullet’, which was held at the church auditorium along Kachia road.
Shortly after the lecture, participants and other church officials embarked on a 30-minute street walk as part of activities to mark the 62nd Independence anniversary of Nigeria.
Dwelling on the theme, one of the speakers, Professor Toba Alabi of the Department of Political Science, Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA), said, “We should be grateful to Christ Embassy Church for bringing people together to educate them on the 2023 elections. The theme of the public lecture is so central; ballot, not bullet, it means that you are to cast your vote, and not to be involved in hooliganism and thuggery. I think the pastor and the congregation have taken a giant step to bring civic education to Nigeria. This is commendable.
“The event is special because Nigeria is yearning for a change as a corporate entity. Today marks the 62nd Independence anniversary of Nigeria. And 23 years of democracy. We have never had it so long
like this. So all Nigerians should be grateful. We have problems as a nation but with determination and zeal, we can solve these problems. We don’t need to be pessimistic, rather we ought to be optimistic about the future of this country in order to make Nigeria great. Every citizen of Nigeria has a role to play to that effect.”
Professor Alabi also noted: “Insecurity is a big challenge towards the 2023 general elections. But the issue of insecurity is not about security people alone. Every Nigerian should be involved in finding solutions to insecurity. Security agencies need information and intelligence gathering to enable them to act. So everybody should be vigilant, and our security agencies are encouraged. We owe them a debt of gratitude for the good jobs they are doing.
“When we talk of ballots and not bullets, we are talking of free and fair election. Elections should not be violent. It is our collective responsibility to ensure election-free violence. We must see ourselves as equal before the law of the land.”
Another speaker, Professor David Day, a Professor of Psychology, called for love and unity among Nigerians, saying that the country has every resource to become a superpower nation.
“We should try to unify the nation. Nigeria can be a superpower if we have a unified nation. We must activate unity. If we don’t have unity, we have to start something to reach others. How can we have free and fair elections when people don’t understand each other? Let’s preach peace to the world. I can see that God is working in Kaduna. I was told not to come to Kaduna because it is dangerous. But here am I, safe.
“Kaduna has everything, human and natural resources to make it great. Somebody without love becomes a terrorist. Building Kaduna is building Nigeria. We should have brotherhood across faith”. Professor Day said.
For Pastor Marcel Obode, who is in charge of Christ Embassy Church, North West zone, “We have a programme we call reach out to Nigeria which has been on since 2007. It is an annual programme all over the country. This year we call it to reach out to the world through Nigeria. We call people together and sensitise them on how they can be useful to themselves and society.
“The burning issue now is the 2023 election. So we try to make people understand that there is no need to fight. You have to use the ballot. There is no need for violence. We are not repressing any political party here. We are only telling the people to vote according to their conscience. But poverty is a problem for our democracy. People sell their vote as low as two thousand naira.”