A former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has said that the adoption of same faith presidential and vice presidential ticket by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is antithetical to Nigeria’s quest for nation building.
He said this on Tuesday in Abuja at a submit tagged ‘Meet the Church’ organised by the Nigerian National Christians Coalition (NNCC) with the theme, ‘The role of the Church in Nation Building.’
The former speaker also urged Nigerian Christians to resist the temptation to waste their votes in the 2023 general elections.
He argued that the APC ignored warnings by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Catholic Secretariat, ECWA church and many other church bodies and adopted the same faith ticket in a manner that negated the fundamentals of nation building, such as shared identity, values and vision.
He said, “The APC adopted a same faith ticket in a country that has never attained nationhood. These warnings were not only ignored but dismissed in one fell swoop by the APC presidential candidate who strangely believes that he can build a strong, secure and viable nation-state without first forging a shared identity, vision and values for our people thereby enabling us transit from citizens of a country into a nation of people with strong shared identity and values.
“To demonstrate that the church is right, it is not alone in condemning the same faith ticket. Other prominent Islamic clerics and Muslim leaders have also spoken in the same light. It is a good omen that both Christian and Muslim elites are not complacent over this matter.”
He also said that granted that the Christians and Muslims will always disagree on some issues, there are however, many things over which they are agreeable and that it is enough to forge ahead with the task of nation building based on those common issues that were agreed upon.
“It must be noted that just as Muslims alone cannot build a nation out of Nigeria so also Christians alone cannot. We have to work together,” Dogara said.
Also, the vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, urged religious organisations and groups to show interest in engaging not just a political class, but the three arms of government as major stakeholders in Nigeria projects, especially on sensitive national issues.
According to him, by doing so, a lot more would be achieved in nation building.
“Though it might seem long overdue, Christians should navigate their way into the process of leadership in Nigeria. Nigerians were tired of politicians who chant the problems bedeviling the nation, but lack concrete solutions to the challenges.
“We know the challenges. We don’t want people to come and tell us our challenges. We want people to tell us the solutions to our problems,” Okowa represented by Senator Uche Ekwunife said.
Earlier, the convener of NNCC, Apostle Titilope Oluwadare, regretted that the church at present is playing a mere reactionary part in Nigeria’s political process instead of being proactive.
According to her, it is time for Christians to understand that until the church engages and brings forth its interests and drives it into ideas and fashion out political strategies, the system will not be sanitised.
“Therefore, we may continue in the circle retrogression in the nation and the situation continues to deteriorate even further,” Oluwadare said.