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Group cautions CAN against divisive politics in Kwara


Map Highlighted Section: Kwara State, Nigeria

Map Highlighted Section: Kwara State, Nigeria

A GROUP, Kwara Christians in Leadership for Peace and Development (KWACILPAD), has sharply criticised the alleged decision by people it called “infiltrators” to use religion to cause divisive politics and disrupt peace and harmony in the state.

The KWACILPAD, which said that the perpetrators of the ill-practice capitalised on the genuine interest of faith groups to achieve their nefarious objective, urged Christian leaders in the state to be cautious of negative effect of such objective.

The group spoke after the Christian political appointees in the state had accused a section of the state branch of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) of disrupting the peace of the state by engaging in smear campaigns against the governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed and the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.

Spokesman of the KWACILPAD, Cornelius Fawenu, who doubles as the Assistant Secretary of CAN in 19 northern states, at a press conference in Ilorin yesterday alleged that the ill-practice was a spread of what was being witnessed at the national level.

He said: “That it is obviously evident that some individuals have capitalised on the genuine interest of faith groups in the political process to play divisive politics that may be detrimental to the peaceful co-existence that Kwara State is well known.

“That the new trend of using religion to play divisive politics at the national level has clandestinely found its way into Kwara State and it is already threatening the enviable inter-religious peaceful co-existence in the state is to restate the obvious.”

Fawenu, who said his group condemned in strongest terms “such clandestine efforts by infiltrators to cause disaffection between Christians and Moslem faithful in the state”, said that the group empathised with the feelings of the Christian political appointees who he said were aggrieved due to the feeling that, as stakeholders in the CAN, their interest was not being protected “as expected.”

The KWACILPAD spokesman, who also said that his group was already reaching out to Christian elders in the state to look into the situation and mediate peace, called on the leadership to “as usual resist any attempt by unscrupulous politicians to use the body to achieve sinister political agenda but rather insist on commitment to peaceful and credible elections.”

He asked the state committee on religious matters to reach out to religious leaders of both the Christian and Islamic faiths to further re-emphasise the need to protect the inter-religious peaceful existence being enjoyed in the state.

Reacting to the development, the state’s Chairman of CAN, Prof. Timothy Opoola, denied the allegations, describing them as those couched in “genuine ignorance.”

Opoola, in a chat with The Guardian in Ilorin, said the CAN did not convene any seminar to fight any government but used it to sensitise leaders of the CAN across 16 local councils of the state on the inherent dangers of the recent Boko Haram alliance with the Islamic Militant group in Syria.

He said: “We held the meeting at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Sabo-Oke, Ilorin, and we had in attendance 20 representatives from each of the existing 16 local councils in the state. As leaders of Christian faithful, we believe that our members’ safety should be paramount to us hence the reason we called them to the parley so that they could go back to their councils and warn Christian youths against joining bad groups irrespective of the offers being dangled at them.

“So, what is political about this? Is that not what all sincere religious leaders should do to ensure peace in Nigeria. I think people should argue only on the point of knowledge. But if they chose to argue from the point of genuine ignorance, it is bad. We have nothing to do with politics of the land. We are purely for Christ.”

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