Don’t use religion to woo voters, CAN, JNI tell Kaduna guber hopefuls
Urge journalists to shun sensational reports
Ahead Saturday’s governorship and House of Assembly elections, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI) have urged politicians in Kaduna State to avoid ethnic and religious politics that may trigger political violence.
During an interactive session organised by Global Peace Foundation-Nigeria (GPFN), yesterday, the Islamic and Christian leaders appealed to governorship candidates to jettison religious sentiment in canvassing for votes.
The programme was organised in collaboration with Big Minds Communications Consult (BMCC) and Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kaduna chapter.
Delivering his keynote address, the Chairman of Kaduna CAN, who is also Country Director, GPFN, Rev. Joseph Hayab said: “To conduct credible elections that would usher in the kind of leaders the Nigerian public desires, the role of the media is substantial.”
He appealed to journalists, especially those in Kaduna, a state that has experienced devastation in the aftermath of elections in the past, to report in a manner that douses tension and not add to the flames of an already-volatile situation with sensational reporting.
“Saturday, March 11, 2023 is the day slated for the next election and the governorship vote is considered closer to the people and may attract more attention than the presidential poll of February 25, 2023.
“Given the sensitivity of Kaduna and the resulting experiences of religious tension in the past, GPFN is calling on Kaduna people to use this election to unite and respect each other’s rights and freedom of choice,” Hayab said.
Secretary, JNI, Kaduna chapter, Ibrahim Kefena, urged journalists not to create unnecessary political tension in the state because “God already knows who will win,” no matter the circumstances that may play up.
He added: “Journalists should not create tension in the state. I hope whoever emerges the next governor on Saturday should be left to God to judge, if he fails to do justice to all of us.”
Kefena also admonished governorship candidates, politicians to desist in promoting religious politics, and allow issue-based campaign in canvassing for votes.
Engaging colleagues on the revised media code for election coverage, a former Director General (Media) to former Governor Ahmed Maiyaki recounted how about 800 people lost their lives while about 65,000 others were displaced due to the 2011 post-election crisis in Northern Nigeria with Kaduna topping the list.
Earlier, the Chairman, Correspondents’ Chapel of NUJ, Kaduna Council, Abdulgafar Alabelewe, had said: “This programme was put together to refresh our memories as journalists on the need to promote peace as we approach the 2023 governorship and state assembly elections.
“Though promotion of peace is entrenched in the journalism code of ethics and even in our formal training, we cannot underestimate the need for fora like this to remind ourselves of our roles as nation builders.
“I call on my colleagues in Kaduna to be conscious of the volatility of our dear state and avoid reportage that is capable of setting the state ablaze.”