Religious leaders on Thursday asked politicians and other stakeholders to strictly abide by the rules of engagement and ensure that the coming 2019 general elections are free, credible and peaceful.
They made the demand in Abuja at a one-day meeting of religious leaders under the aegis of International Centre for Interfaith, Peace and Harmony (ICIPH). The theme of the event was: “Towards a Credible, Free, Fair and Peaceful 2019 General Elections in Nigeria”.
The Co-Chairman of the centre and Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, urged all stakeholders, especially politicians to abide by the rules and guidelines of the elections.
The Sultan represented by the Etsu Nupe, Dr. Yahaya Abubakar, said it is important for religious leaders to be on the positive and true side of history and must therefore work towards ensuring that the right message of the meeting was conveyed to the appropriate authorities for implementation in the interest of the country.
“All efforts to ensure peace, harmony and mutual respect in the country are welcome. It is important to ensure peace in the land and the coming elections must be peaceful,” he said.
The other Co-Chairman of the centre and President of the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), Dr. Benebo Fubara Fubara-Manuel, said the meeting was important as religious leaders have vital roles to play in ensuring the success of the 2019 elections.
He said, “People nowadays are not looking up to God for worship, they are worshiping out of hunger. Bad governance has direct bearing on the way people worship God. So, we must all work for good governance for Nigeria irrespective of religious leanings. We must all work to ensure the success of the 2019 elections.”
Also, the Norwegian Ambassador in Nigeria, Mr. Jens-Petter Kjemprud, stressed the importance of religious leaders for the success of the elections.
The President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, represented by the Primate of the African Church, Dr. Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, call for sustained efforts to ensure the improvement of peace in the country and the success of the 2019 polls.
The Convener of Arewa Research and Development Project, Dr. Usman Bugaje, urged Nigerians to insist that politicians tell them their plans for national development and citizen’s welfare rather than telling them what their opponents are or what they are not.
“Telling us somebody is corrupt without tangible evidence is a sin in Islam and I believe is same in Christianity; that should be taken to the appropriate security agencies. We should asked politicians to tell us what they would do better and how they would do it. So, religious leaders should enlighten their followers,” Bugaje said.
The duo of the Secretary General, JNI, Dr. Khalid A. Aliyu and Secretary General, CCN, Rev. Dr. Yusuf Ibrahim Wushishi, who are co-secretaries, urged Nigerians to help politicians act right by being good citizens with Nigeria’s interest paramount in their hearts.