The senatorial candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)for Imo East, Mr Chyma Anthony, has called on political, opinion andreligious leaders to de-emphasise talks on religious beliefs ofpresidential and vice presidential candidates of parties in the runoffto 2023 general elections.

He said Nigeria is too polarised on religious matters and it’s a gravemistake to tow that line of thoughts in our polity.

Anthony while speaking to journalists in Abuja frowned at the ragingdebate over fielding a Muslim running mate to the All ProgressivesCongress (APC) presidential flag bearer, Senator Bola Tinubu in the2023 presidential election.

He said opinion moulders, religious and political leaders havesucceeded in hitting up the political space with the issue ofMuslim-Muslim ticket while raging national issues like insecurity,poor electricity supply, lack of petrol, high cost of diesel, strikes,continuous fall of the Naira, unemployment among others persistswithout a way out.

“It is appalling to see critical stakeholders arguing over religiousaffiliations of candidates in the 2023 presidential election negatingthe very essence of government in the country.

“What steers us today is more than the faith of presidential and vicepresidential candidates. In a country where religion has polarised allsectors of the country, people are still talking Muslim-Muslim ticketinstead of how candidates intend to address burning developmentaffecting the nation.

“How do we address rising inflation that has gone from 9.01 per centin 2015 to17.71 in 2022, how do we stop borrowing, our debt profile inthe last few years is scary and dangerous, from N8.8 trillion in 2015to N41.60 in 2022 and may still skyrocket before the year ends.

Fuel crisis has been raging since November, 2021 without a way outeven with four refineries that are good as moribund; our people sleepat filling stations in order to get fuel with a President who doublesas Petroleum minister.

“The naira is dying daily as the currency struggles against worldmajor currencies. The Naira has nosedived from N198/1 dollar in 2015to staggering N610/1 dollar in 2022 largely propelled by dollar bazaarat the recently concluded party primaries by the money bags in ourpolity.

“Nigeria’s unemployment crisis is worsening every day with thousandsleaving school with no hope of getting a job. The figures are clear:from 10.4 per cent in 2015 according to the National Bureau ofStatistics (NBS) to 33.3 per cent today.

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

“We have remained a net import nation and are spending most of ourresources serving debt and running the government instead of improvingbasic infrastructures that will improve the standard of living in thecountry,” said Anthony.

The APGA candidate for Imo East lamented that Nigeria as a nation issailing in the wrong direction while calling all and sundry to lookmore at developmental issues rather than pedestrian and mundanematters of state.