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Engage presidential candidates, Bakare advises Christian leaders

By Leo Sobechi (Abuja), Kehinde Olatunji and Yetunde Ayobami Ojo (Lagos)
18 July 2022   |   2:49 am
Serving Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, yesterday, cautioned Nigerians against playing politics of ethnicity and religion next year.

[FILE PHOTO] Tunde Bakare

•CAC preaches PVCs, Oyo ex-AG lauds Shettima’s emergence
•Same faith ticket reopens North’s old wound, says PDP chieftain

Serving Overseer of Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, yesterday, cautioned Nigerians against playing politics of ethnicity and religion next year.

Speaking on the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket, involving Bola Tinubu and Kashim Shettima, the cleric, who participated in the party’s primary, advised the citizenry to prioritise nation-building.

Noting that the ticket has been with vehement opposition, Bakare charged Christian leaders to engage candidates open-mindedly. He said: “Going forward, ahead of 2023, we must learn from our mistakes. Christian leaders must, at this point, bring the candidates and their running mates to the negotiation table with an open mind and based on a clearly articulated charter for nation-building and national development.”

The cleric added that the moment calls for every Nigerian to renew his/her commitment to nationhood. He said such strategic engagement would be reminiscent of interventions of the Save Nigeria Group (SNG) in 2010, when it engaged the presidential candidates on the basis of saving and transforming Nigeria.

Bakare advised Christian leaders to interrogate the candidates for development and convene a strategic concourse to define minimum standards across sectors of governance.

He suggested guidelines for engagement on nation-building that must be done before September when the campaigns are officially commencing.
ALSO, leadership of the Christ Apostolic Church (CAC) Worldwide has urged faithful to acquire their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

It equally pleaded with Nigerians to intensify prayers for Nigeria’s rescue. The church’s president, Pastor Henry Ojo and Prophet Richard Kolawole of CAC Arogungbogunmi, Ibadan, shared the thought, yesterday, during the 26th anniversary of CAC Arogungbogunmi International.

Specifically, Ojo said as the country draws close to the 2023 general elections, Nigerians should pray for a man after God’s heart as President. He appealed to the citizens to be prayerful about insecurity.

On the ruling party’s same religion ticket, Ojo submitted: “Naturally, the choice is not palatable with the condition we find ourselves in Nigeria today, because Nigerians no longer believe in the unity of this country. Religion and tribe have divided us. I believe that since we have two major religions in Nigeria, they should consider Christians.”

“But, the choice is ours. We should have our PVCs. We know (parties) that have Christian-Muslim ticket. After we have prayed for the will of God to be done, the choice is ours. Nigerians are those who will decide who will be there. There is no need to argue or fight. The more we fight, the more enmity we make.”

The host, Prophet Kolawole, said: “My message for Nigerians is that we should pray very fervently because the country is at a crossroads. Nigeria is in a state of confusion. What we need now is to pray that God should give us direction, not for a party and not for a candidate. The people should ask God about what to do next.”

BESIDES, Oyo State ex-Accountant General under the late Governor Abiola Ajimobi administration, Dr. Olagoke Salami, has lauded Shettima’s emergence.

The National Patron/South West Grand Patron of National Coalition of Tinubu Support Groups (NCTSC), in a statement, said selection of the former Borno State governor “is a good omen and combination that would move the nation forward.”

HOWEVER, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Plateau State, Chief Jonathan Sunday Akuns, says the same faith ticket has reopened an old wound in the North.

He argued that though Nigerians always draw attention to Fulani and Hausa as the main ethnic groups in North West region, the elite rely on Islam for governance and exclude same ethnic cum regional cohorts that are Christians.

Maintaining that “this is the template some speakers want to implement at the national level,” Akuns said it tends to end up in creating instability.

He noted: “All elected leaders from the North have been Fulani Muslims, but none of them has ever appointed a Fulani or Hausa Christian from North West region into any government office. Why?

“Besides appointments, Hausa and Fulani Christians in the North West region are always discriminated upon in every sphere of life, why? When other regions and ethnic groups adopt the template of North West region, the Islamic clerics will shout hoax, why?”

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