By EMMANUEL OLONIRUHA
Abuja- The New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) has urged Muslims to use the occasion of this year Eid-el-Fitr to pray to God to guide Nigeria as it moves towards the 2023 general elections.
The party, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Agbo Major, on Sunday in Abuja, felicitated Muslims in the country on the occasion of the 2023 Eid-el-Fitri festival marking the successful conclusion of the Ramadan fasting.
He said that no doubt that Muslims, who participated in the month-long fasting attracted to themselves the blessings, forgiveness, mercy, love, joy and preservation of Allah associated with the month.
“It is obvious that our Muslim compatriots used the occasion to pray for peace, unity, love, tolerance and prosperity of the nation.
“The state of the nation needs the collective prayers, perseverance and patriotism of all Nigerians to redirect the ship of the nation from its perilous course to the path of rectitude, progress, development and advancement as we march towards the crucial 2023 general elections, he said.”
Major also saluted the nation’s work force as workers celebrated this year’s May Day, describing them as dynamic, vibrant, progressive and patriotic.
He said that the NNPP identified with workers in the collective efforts at building a strong, virile, progressive, prosperous and decent democratic society.
“The great Nigerian workers are the best in Africa and among the best in the world.
“They are the pride of the nation whose exceptional resilience, patriotism, intellectual ability, managerial acumen, tenacity and sagacity of purpose have fostered unity and stabilised the polity.
“The Nigerian workers demonstrated their love for the fatherland in the struggle for independence where they resisted the British colonial masters through calculated industrial actions.
“They opposed obnoxious military decrees and actions that undermined the wellbeing of Nigerian people and unity of the nation which ushered the democratic freedom the citizenry enjoys today,” he said.
Major said that Nigerian workers had contributed enormously to the growth of the nation in spite enormous challenges.
He said it was time to protect and reward the workers in tandem with Section 14(2) b of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which provided that the security and welfare of the people should be the primary purpose of government.
“Civil servants work so hard, earn so little and owed so much. Enough of this oppression of fellow compatriots.
“The current minimum wage of N30,000 is not applicable today due to high cost of living that has made life unbearable for most Nigerians, particularly civil servants,” he said.
Major said that the free fall of the naira exchange rate contributed to the country’s economic challenges.
He called on state governments to pay all outstanding salaries owed workers this month, saying the era of owing workers while top public office holders lived in luxury from looted funds was over.
He said that the NNPP, if elected into power in the 2023 presidential election, would make workers and all Nigerians welfare a top priority.
He said that the NNPP also demanded immediate payment of the pensions and gratuities of the nation’s retirees.
“It is unfair, unjust and wicked to owe retired workers billions of naira due to them having spent their productive years in service to the fatherland. It is unacceptable and despicable. The labour of our heroes past shall not be in vain,” he said.
He also called on the Federal Government to quickly resolve lingering issues with the Academic Staff Union of Universities and honour agreements with the union.
This, according to Major, will to end the elongated strike that has undermined the nation’s educational advancement and led students to crimes, thus worsening insecurity in the country.
Major, who said that the upcoming 2023 general elections would be a redefining moment for Nigeria, said that the NNPP called for issues-based campaigns.
He urged politicians to eschew politics of bitterness and brigandage that had stalked the nation’s frail democracy.
Major urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to provide a level-playing field to all political parties and their candidates in all elections, saying that was the only way to safeguard the nation’s hard earned democracy.
He also condemned the recent National Drug Law Enforcement Agency’s proposal for drug integrity test on aspirants vying for various offices in the 2023 general elections.
Major described it as ill-conceived, a joke taken too far and mockery of the country’s frail democracy.
“It is inconsistent with electoral laws and suggests that politicians are drug addicts who cannot be trusted to hold elective offices. NNPP strongly condemns it and will not tolerate it.
“Any proposal outside the clear provisions of the 1999 Constitution, Electoral Act, INEC guidelines and our party constitution is void and of no effect whatsoever, he said” (NAN)