… beg religious Leaders to shield sword, as provocative language could lead to religious war
From Abel Leonard, Lafia
Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa state has cautioned the two religious faith in Christians and Muslims on the need to avoid religious sentiment in politics capable of tearing the state apart which could lead to religious war in the state.
This is even as he begged religious leaders to inform their followers to shield their sword as provocative languages making round the social media could put the state in a very bad light.
Governor Sule gave the caution on Saturday when he invited religious leaders to government house to discuss on the best way to end violence pron messages making the rounds on social media putting fear on the citizen towards the March,11 gubernatorial election in the state.
Sule said he called for the meeting because of an unfortunate situation that has emerged in the state adding that Nasarawa state has always been seen as a peaceful state, despite having a diverse population of different ethnicities, religions, and languages.
“Nasarawa state, just like other part of the country have family members from the same mother or father of those who practice two different religions and it is not out of place to find partner who are also in that categories in the state.”
Sule further stressed that they should not allow politics to divide Nasarawa people as winners will always come as it is only God who will decide a leader and there is no greater time to understand that and accept than this electioneering season.
“We have come into an election where, in the home based of our presidential candidate, he was defeated by labour party. Here today is the President elect because God has already destined that he is going to be a President. It does not matter whatever happens, the ones selected by the almighty God will continued to be the winners.” he said.
It is based on that premise that governor appeals for unity in the state by applying some level of respect with the way politics is played noting that It has to be Nasarawa state before politics, “if there is no Nasarawa state today there would not be any politics. And a lot of people who are making noises will not even have any noise because they will be running in a dream world.”
He urges religious leaders to use their influence to prevent the escalation of the religious conflict in Nasarawa state, while emphasizing the need to focus on building the state rather than destroying it, “as the nation is still in its early stages of development.”
He also pleads for religious leaders to understand the significance of God-given leadership and to utilize it for the greater good while also cautioning against allowing religious differences to divide the people and to refrain from using fake politics and religion as a basis for electing leaders.
He therefore calls for unity and partnership among leaders to address the challenges facing the state, encourages churchgoers to support the peaceful conduct of elections.
In an interview after the meeting with the governor, Rev. Sunday Emma, chairman Christian association of Nigeria, Nasarawa state chapter, explained that the governor had called the two religious leaders in the state to address them on the need to embrace peace with the knowledged that it is an electioneering period.
Emma added that the provocative video on social media had caused fear amongst the two religious faith and the governors own wisdom chooses to address the two religion so as to continue to enjoy the peace already established in Nasarawa state.
“From the angle of CAN, we are so happy because a lot of our members are worried of what will happened on the 11th of March, Whether they will come for election or not because of the threats, intimidation and all the provocative statements.”
“With this meeting we call on every Christian and not just Christian, everyone living in Nigeria especially Nasarawa state to come out and vote. There are several assurances of security, whoever wants to terminate the peace we have enjoyed in this state will not be allow.”
“As the chairman of CAN Nasarawa state other members of CAN condemned such provocative videos and cautions all that want to continued in this to stop. So let us work for the building of the state, let us continued to sustain the peace and prosperity we have enjoyed among the two faith.”
Asked how he intend to pass the message across, he said as religious body, “we have churches, congregations and we will call on all our members to pass the information and renew their hope. There will be no fear, people should come and vote their conscience, vote for leaders who fear God,leaders that will continue to build.” He said.
Also speaking, Mohammed Ali, the chief iman of juma’a mosque here in Lafia and secretary general of juma’at also explained the need to live in peace in the state noting that “one good thing with Nasarawa state is they have never being a fight among the religion in the state.”
“This time of election, it will no happen. the governor had emphasized more on peace, some of this provocative videos are very unnecessary, we just want to have peaceful election just as it happened in presidential election.
“I promised two share this information to our followers. I have the contact of every Iman in mosque in the state. We will pass it them and they will pass it to the congregation. By God’s we will have a peaceful election.” He added.
Recall that there is a recent video of a popular stakeholder in Nasarawa state making the rounds on social media instigating a certain faith to vote for a particular candidate who is of the same faith using some inflammatory languages of threats and intimidation prior to the March 11 election in Nasarawa state.
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