The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) senatorial candidate for Imo East, Mr. Chyma Anthony, has called on political and religious leaders to downplay the religious inclinations of presidential and vice-presidential candidates ahead of the 2023 elections.

He said Nigeria had become too polarized, especially on religious issues, and stressed that it would be a big mistake to follow this line of thinking in seeking political office.

Anthony, while speaking to reporters in Abuja, denounced the raging debate over a Muslim running mate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential flag bearer, Senator Bola Tinubu.

He said opinion makers, religious and political leaders have already heated the political space with the issue of Muslim-Muslim banknotes while raging on national issues such as insecurity, poor electricity supply, lack of petrol, high cost of diesel, strikes, the continuous fall of the Naira. , unemployment among others persists with no way out.

“It is appalling to see critical stakeholders arguing over the religious affiliations of candidates for the 2023 presidential election, denying the very essence of government in the country.

“What guides us today more than the faith of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. In a country where religion has polarized all sectors of the country, people are still talking about the Muslim-Muslim ticket instead of how the candidates intend to approach the burning development affecting the nation.

“How can we deal with rising inflation from 9.01% in 2015 to 17.71 in 2022, how do we stop borrowing, our debt profile over the past few years is scary and dangerous, from 8.8 trillion naira in 2015 to 41 .60 naira in 2022 and may still skyrocket before the end of the year.

“The fuel crisis has been raging since November 2021 with no way out even with four such moribund refineries; our people sleep in gas stations to get fuel with a president who also serves as oil minister.

“The naira is dying every day as the currency struggles against major global currencies. The naira plunged from the N198/1 dollar in 2015 to a staggering N610/1 dollar in 2022 largely propelled by the dollar bazaar in the party primaries recently concluded by the moneybags in our

political regime.

“Nigeria’s unemployment crisis is getting worse every day, with thousands leaving school with no hope of finding a job. The figures are clear: from 10.4% in 2015 according to the National Bureau of Statistics (BNS) to 33.3% today.

“Furthermore, our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) instead of growing has continued to decline from $486 billion in 2015 to $440 billion in 2021 leaving more Nigerians trapped in poverty.

“We have remained a net importing country and are spending most of our resources on debt servicing and government management instead of improving basic infrastructure that will improve the standard of living in the country,” Anthony said.

The APGA candidate for Imo East lamented that Nigeria as a nation is sailing in the wrong direction while calling on everyone to focus more on development issues rather than pedestrian state issues and banal.

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