Ahead of the 2023 elections, a former Chaplain of Aso Villa Chapel and General Overseer of All Christians Fellowship Mission, Rev. Dr. William Okoye, has urged Nigerians to prepare for a spirited struggle against political forces that have held the country down over the years.

The ex-chaplain of the State House also told the people to be prepared for uncertainties that would characterise the election.

Okoye spoke, while delivering a sermon titled, ‘Battle for the Soul of Nigeria’, during a church service to commemorate the 2022 Democracy Day celebration in Abuja on Sunday.

He lamented Nigeria’s slow pace of progress, insisting that the nation’s woes were caused by the mismanagement of the national treasury which has characterised successive administrations.

The radical cleric also took a swipe at the political parties over allegation that some of their presidential candidates lavished hard currencies on delegates who voted for them at the recent conventions where they picked their standard bearers.

While cautioning the parties against presenting same religion presidential tickets, he noted that the fragile religious fault-lines in the country had created tensions already.

He said, “The 2023 election is going to be fierce, because the politicians that have held this nation hostage will not give up without a fight.

“I will advise the main political parties not to attempt Muslim-Muslim ticket, because of the tension and fragile religious fault-lines in the country today.

“Religion has been so exploited in politics that the People are now so sensitive when the issue is brought up in leadership recruitment so this is not the right time to be talking of same religion presidential ticket. For many years, we have practised politics of tribalism, sectionalism, and religion. Where has it got us to?

“Looking at where we are as a nation today, especially in view of what transpired during the presidential primaries, it is so disheartening and discouraging, because a long as the process through which leaders emerge is corrupted, there is really no hope of getting it right.

“We can never get it right with the ‘dollarisation’ of the process through which our leaders emerge. As long as such a system is allowed to continue, it can never throw up the kind of leaders that will change the nation.

“If you look at the credentials of the presidential candidates of the main political parties, you will find that they are giants in politics. Their records are intimidating.

“Some disgruntled politician have decided they will continue to hold this nation down. Many of them have no other means of livelihood, but government patronage by means of which they loot the national treasury.

“They will rather choose to die than give it up, but God will teach them a lesson. God is going to show himself in the affairs of our nation.”

Okoye, nevertheless, described the mounting alliance of alternative political elements against the forces in the ruling All Progressives Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party as a divine opportunity for the country’s liberation from the brinks of failure.

According to him, if the people miss this chance, the nation may never recover from the consequences.

Against that backdrop, the former presidential villa chaplain enjoined Christians and other patriotic citizens to be prepared for huge responsibilities as they will eventually to decide who takes over the leadership of the country in 2023.

“The process through which leaders emerge is faulty, and as long as we continue to allow it, we will never have the right people.

“But, if the church gets it acts right, if decent people who want integrity, justice and freedom in the country work together, irrespective of their religion and tribe, we can get these people out of the way in 2023, because they have been holding this nation down and suffocating the economy.

“This is the time for Nigeria’s liberation. If we get it right during the 2023 election, things will change. Everyone should come out and get their PVCs. Get involved in politics, go and join political parties so that you can be one of those throwing up candidates for elections. Let’s be involved at the grassroots level.”

Okoye further stated that corruption in public offices was the by-product of Nigeria’s major problem, stressing that the main challenge confronting the nation is value distortion.

“That is why gunmen and those who kill in the name of religion seem not to appreciate the sacredness of life,” he added.