The two prominent religious leaders, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and Arch bishop of Abuja Diocese of the Catholic Church, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, yesterday confirmed that the forthcoming general elections might spell doom for the country unless urgent steps were taken to salvage the situation.
Addressing journalists ahead of this month’s polls, the two leaders said the political mood of the nation was tensed, adding that it would be foolish for anyone to brush aside the stark realities the elections portended. They said political leaders must call their followers to order.
The duo equally urged the two leading presidential candidates, President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari to accept the result of the outcome of the election. He said the era where a winner took it all was over.
They urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the polls are free, fair and creditable. They said only credible polls would ensure that post-election violence are minimised.
Sultan said: “We all know that religious leaders are the conscience of the nation. Our desire to come out and speak at this time should be well passed to every nook and cranny of this country. We are all human beings first before we are called Muslims and Christians. Both religions appreciate the sanctity of life. We have always condemned the activity of insurgents. We will continue to do that until there is no more insurgency in the country.
“We are really worried at what is happening. As religious leaders, we cannot keep quiet. We cannot pretend and say everything is okay.”
Everything is not okay. We are worried at what we are seeing in various campaigns and rallies. We are joining our voices and calling on everyone to ensure there is peace. We must ensure and protect this peace.?
“We must see the elections as one of the challenges that will strengthen us. It should make us better. We call on all Nigerians to come together and ensure we have free, fair and transparent elections. We call on INEC to have the fear of God. We want to see a situation where, when the results are announced, the loser will embrace the winner. It is not going to be a winner takes it all approach.
“I wish we could have a law where those candidates can be compelled to produce a list of their cabinet members so that we will know the kind on people we are voting into power. That will enable us vote wisely.
“We know as Muslims, Islam is a religion of peace. We must respect Christians. Nobody should be allowed to use religion to divide us. God cannot be wrong to have brought us together. If we live in peace, we will get to the promised land soon.
“We call on politicians of all parties to allow us stay together and live in peace. Onaiyekan and I believe in peace. Politicians and leaders must be open to their followers. You must feel the pulse of your followers. We must call on politicians who control party followers. They must ensure they control them. There must not be violence. That is our clarion call.
?Speaking on the Abuja Peace Accord and the need to ensure that the terms of agreements are followed by the two leading presidential contenders, Cardinal Onaiyekan said: “We call in all contestants to respect both in letter and spirit the “Abuja Accord” which they have signed in the presence of God and men. They should play to the rule. Let the people decide through free and fair elections who will lead them.
“It is God’s will that will organise our human society in good order under the authority of a government.? Rulers must therefore, respect God’s laws and run our affairs, including the conduct of elections with integrity and utmost honesty. We citizens, on our part, must respect the just orders of duly constituted civil authorities.
“Our special and passionate appeal goes to government and its agents charged with ensuring free, fair and peaceful elections, especially INEC and the security agencies. Do your duty well, with no bias for or against anyone. Yours is a sacred fury that is crucial for the well-being ?of our nation, for which you will be accountable to God for blessings or otherwise.” -SunNews