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Religious leaders plan interfaith confab to deepen democracy

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They foresaw the annulment of 1993 Presidential election, in which Chief Moshood Abiola, was on the verge of winning. Now they are worried that Nigeria’s democracy has continued to raise pre-election apprehensions amid its failure to yield net dividends to the people.

The above issues were outlined as the underlying factors that necessitated the formation of Legacy Initiative International (LII) to ensure social harmony and responsible leadership in the country.

During the unveiling of the group in Lagos, Grand Patron of LII, Dr. Kenny Martins, regretted that after several wonderful legislations and government policies, Nigeria is yet to maximize its potential or attain the expected heights in the comity of nations.

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He lamented that as the country prepares for a crucial general election, the politicians are not canvassing real issues to advance good governance pointing out that the God element was yet to be factored into the nation’s body politics.

Martins, who was accompanied to the unveiling by other members of LII, including Bishop Bayo Babalola, Bishop Oscar Ossai, Prince Chudi Chukwuani and the group’s national secretary, Chief Johnny Ucheagha, said they had been meeting Christian and Muslim leaders individually.

He added the outreach would culminate in a general conclave in Abuja for the Muslim and Christian leaders to screen various aspirants, an exercise which would be preceded by separate meetings of all Muslim groups in Kaduna and Christian leaders in Lagos.

According to the group, it does not augur well for the country to be always on edge every time it is preparing for a general election, stressing that politicians have been pitting Christians against Muslims to serve their narrow interest.

“This should stop; we want these religious leaders come together and take interest in the caliber of people jostling to lead the country. Let the Christian and Muslim leaders sit together and formulate a template for a solution and play the power game together, interrogate the candidates and when you have found them worthy you preach about them from the pulpit and from the mosques,” he added.

Martins recalled how he and his colleagues operated under the aegis of Nation Builders and made similar efforts in the past to stabilise democracy, pointing out that they were frustrated by the low capacity leaders that were thrown up at elections.

Insisting that Christians and Muslims in the country should be the ones at the forefront of determining those to lead the country, the Grand Patron of LII said the abundance of churches and mosques in the country gives an idea of what potent force they hold to enthrone Godly leaders.

While stressing that it is not proper for Christians not to bring their first eleven to infuse morality and fear of God into governance, the Grand Patron said religious leaders could be more involved by interfacing with their congregations on the fitness of the candidates presented by political parties.

He maintained what would help to redirect the governance of the country, saying: “We are canvassing now for PVCs and people are getting aware, the Adeboyes, the Oyedepos are doing so, but when they have gotten these PVCs, what do they do with it?

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“Let the first eleven from the religious leaders take over the government so that our country can move forward. Let the Christian and Muslim leaders sit together and formulate a template for a solution and play the power game together, interrogate the candidates and when you have found them worthy you preach about them from the pulpit and from the mosques.”

In his contribution, Prince Chukwuani, said good governance remains the “common thread tying Christian and Muslim leaders in the country,” adding that the second lap of LII’s effort would entail meeting all Christian leaders in Lagos, meeting all Muslim leaders in Kano/Kaduna and this will be followed by a convergence of the two for peace.

“We have to set a different narrative to save Nigeria. We do not want to introduce perpetual conflict in Nigeria. They are going to pick their candidates but all we are saying is that let the PVCs count for once,” he added.


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