President Muhammadu Buhari has cautioned religious leaders in Nigeria to stop partisan politicking if they would not want to lose the respect of their followers.
“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.”
The President, who addressed religious leaders today, Saturday in Abuja, at a conference by Interfaith Initiative themed: “Religious Harmony In Nigeria: Towards The 2019 General Elections,” hoped and pray that Nigeria will 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.
“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.
President Buhari acknowledged the presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, “who in spite of his busy schedule has accepted to be the keynote speaker at this important conference.
“We thank you for your love for Nigeria and her people and appreciate all your efforts in informing Britain and other nations about the true state of affairs in Nigeria.
He also appreciated the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who co-Initiated the Initiative for love of the country and who, together with other Nigerians, have continued to work for peace and peaceful coexistence as faithful Muslims and Christians.
Turning to traditional rulers, Buhari appealed to them to enlighten their subjects, encourage them to ask questions and seek clarifications before going out to vote in the next year’s elections. “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.
“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.”
President Buhari appealed to them to continue to pray for the country’s unity, peace and progress.