Tinubu should allay fears of Christians on same faith presidential ticket, Says Arch-Bishop Ogunmuyiwa
The Archbishop of the African Church, Abuja, Dr Peter Ogunmuyiwa says the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu must ease the fears of Nigeria Christians over the choice of same faith ticket.
Dr Ogunmuyiwa made the submission in Kano at the 4th National Inter-Religious Conference, tagged: “Harnessing Nigerian’s Religious Diversity for Sustainable Peace and National Development”, organized by the Kano state government.
Archbishop Ogunmuyiwa who declared that Christians in the country have justifiable grounds to express dissatisfaction over the Muslim/Muslim presidential ticket of APC, however, believed such a political decision should not disintegrate the nation.
According to the clergy, What should rather inform the decision of the people on who to support in 2023 should include the conviction about the benefits to derive from the program and policies of the candidate and the capacity of the candidate.
“It is true that the Christians in Nigeria are not happy with the choice of Muslims Muslims ticket by APC, and they have the right to be unhappy with the decision, especially with the level of insecurity trending in Nigeria today, especially in the North. Christians bear more of the consequences hence the apprehension about what the Muslims Muslims president and vice president will spell to Nigerian Christians if elected.
“It is now left for APC in particular and the presidential candidate to allay our fears as Christians and to win back the confidence of their admirers. The election cannot be won by a section of the country or a particular religion. We need ourselves to build a strong nation. It is also important for religious clerics to know that the immediate objective of politicians is to win elections based on idealogy and program”. Dr. Ogunmuyiwa noted.
Although the clergyman, emphasized that the political party and religion of a particular candidate in an election, though count but should not be a factor for division among people of faiths, he argued that what should be more critical to Nigerians about next year’s election is the competence and capacity of the presidential candidate to address the nation’s woes. According to the Archbishop, Nigerians must understand that “politics is basically about interest and strategy to win elections while the religion of faith is sacred and personal”.
Dr Ogunmuyiwa who doubles as co-chairman of the Inter-Religious Conference stressed that the conference is geared towards complementing the ongoing dialogue towards finding solutions to religious colouration problems in Nigeria.
Underscoring the importance of peace in the country, the leader of Jamahatu Izalatu Bidia Waikamatu Sunnah in Nigeria, Sheikh, Abdullahi Bala-Lau advocated the need for leaders of both major faiths to build strong and mutual understanding on common factors.
Sheikh Bala-Lau however warned against the emergence of some unscrupulous elements among the political elites planning to use religion to hijack the relative peace in the country in the name of election. The Islamic scholar also recommended the conduct of presidential and Governorship polls should be held on the same day to reduce security tension.
For the stability of Nigeria, the Chief Imam of National Mosque, Abuja, Professor Ahmad Saeed Galadanci said Nigerians should be mindful of the characters of politicians whose ultimate target is to use religious sentiments to ferment crisis.
Professor Galadanci declared that while many of the politicians prepared to win next year’s election by hook or crook, Nigerians must be conscious of their selfish interests and vote wisely.
While declaring the conference open, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje cautioned political parties weeping religious sentiments during the campaign while seeking votes from electorates ahead of the 2023 general elections. Besides, Ganduje urged strict adherence to directive issued by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that restricts political parties from tactical campaigns at religious centres.
Ganduje challenged leaders of various faith to close rank in mutual understanding and dialogue to promote unity, peace and cohesion while deemphasizing on issues of division. He maintained that only such a platform would enhance development and prevent needless crisis among the two major faith.