President Muhammadu Buhari has called on religious leaders to abstain from partisan politics.
The President also called on religious faithfuls to pray and seek God’s guidance before casting their votes in 2019.
Buhari said this on Saturday, October 13, 2018, while speaking at a conference organised by the Interfaith Initiative for Peace, with the theme: Religious Harmony in Nigeria: Towards the 2019 General Election.
He said “Our Primary Elections are over, it is my hope that all who feel aggrieved would put the stability of our country first before their political ambitions and accept the decision of their political parties or seek resolution through party reconciliation mechanisms or the law courts.
“Very soon, political campaigns will commence leading to Elections in February next year. It is my hope and prayer that we will even perform better at the polling stations and see to a peaceful completion of the entire process without resorting to negative use of religion and ethnicity.
“Having witnessed the roles our religious leaders have been playing so far, I appeal to them to eschew partisan politics and appeal to their respective members to read the manifestos of each political party, discuss and pray for God’s guidance before casting their votes. Religious leaders should not be seen to involve themselves in partisan politics or political controversies. Otherwise they risk losing their status and public respect.”
No more free money
According to the President, Nigeria has moved on from the era where free money is shared to people without accountability.
“I am proud to say that our country has moved on, the era of free money, lack of transparency and accountability is over! We deserve continuity; we deserve a better future for the coming generations. I sincerely hope 2019 will move us closer to these goals and so I look forward to a peaceful, fair and credible elections come 2019,” he said.
Buhari also urged traditional leaders to enlighten their subjects, saying “On their part, traditional rulers are also requested to enlighten their subjects, encourage them to ask questions and seek clarifications before going out to vote. As your President, I will request that you encourage your subjects to come out and exercise their voting rights as responsible citizens. To all of us politicians, I ask that we discharge our political responsibilities with integrity, bearing in mind that we will one day give an account to God, the Almighty.”
Presence of religious leaders at Atiku’s endorsement by OBJ
On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar met with his former boss and ex-President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
Obasanjo and Atiku have both washed each other’s dirty linen since their government ended in 2007.
However, after the meeting, Obasanjo promised to work towards Atiku’s success in 2019.
Some religious leaders who accompanied the PDP presidential candidate are: Sheikh Gumi, Bishop David Oyedepo of Winners Chapel and Archbishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah.
Some political observers say it is an indication that the Church in Nigeria is favourable to Atiku’s candidacy.