Groups urge peaceful co-existence of religious bodies ahead of 2019 election

PHOTO: TWITTER/INEC NIGERIA

A coalition of groups under the aegis of Legacy Initiative International has called for peaceful co-existence among religious bodies ahead of the 2019 general elections.

The grand patron of the association, Dr. Kenny Martins, contended that if Christianity and Islam saw each other as one, “the twin evils” of ethnicity and religious intolerance would be defeated and degraded.

Speaking during the official public unveiling of the organisation, Martins recounted that the population of each of the religions is more than the population of any other African country.

He expressed optimism that if interdenominational and interfaith differences could be solved, the two bodies would emerge as the most potent force for the choice of political leaders.

Martins who is the chairman of the Police Equipment Trust Fund (PETF) premeditated that this would ultimately bring about the rise of ethical governance in the country without turning Nigeria into a theocracy, which he said was an entirely different form of government from democracy.

He said: “It is not difficult to imagine what will be the outcome if the top hierarchy of our Christian and Muslim leaders, with all their wisdom and spiritual disposal will narrow their choice to a single candidate in a presidential or gubernatorial election.

“Such candidate will win easily without having to break any bank, and when he or she is in office, there will be no doubt that the person will be constantly conscious of the divine route through which he or she got into office and the consequences of not governing in the best way possible. With time, such a practice can become the norm and apply to both the local government and other elections.”

He, however, noted that there were other pressing issues in the country that needed urgent attention aside “the divisive twin issues of ethnicity and religious intolerance.”

Martins said the security problems around the country with different brand names like; farmer- herdsmen clashes, bandits – citizens clashes, militancy and deliberate destruction of economic infrastructure in some regions of the country called for intervention.

“With the gallantry of our Armed Forces, the Boko Haram insurgency have now been defeated and degraded. However, Boko Haram have taken another form of insurgency, this still consist a major security threat that must be addressed by the Federal Government.”

Martins also noted that the anti-graft war by the current administration could not be said to be yielding much result as claimed in some quarters.

“Also worthy of mention is the issue of official corruption. Our current scorecard in the corruption index is nothing for anybody to be happy about. Whether corruption is fighting back or not, we urge the Federal Government to double its effort to make sure that our Country is not overwhelmed by the evil of official corruption.”

He, therefore, urged politicians to play by the rules to acquit themselves credibility during the 2019 election.

Martins stated that the eyes of the whole world were now on the country and would remain so until the elections were concluded.

“We believe that by this time next year after the elections have come and gone that our country will be even stronger and our economy even more robust.”

According to him, the group has sought the audience of prominent religious and opinion leaders in the country.

They include the Arch bishop of the Catholic Arch diocese of Lagos and Abuja; the Sultan of Sokoto; leaders of Christ Apostolic Church and Living Faith Church; Leaders of NASFAT; president of CAN and formers presidents, among others.

The president of the group, Dr. Bolaji Akinyemi, noted that given the global reputation of the nation as a highly religious country, the expected effect of the teachings was farfetched.

“Over the years, attempts are being made to stop the carnage of senseless killings in the nation but the mutual mistrust among the adherents of the Islam and Christian faiths have been a clog in the wheel of achievement of much result.”

He urged the two religions to come together to rescue the nation by offering the right leadership of love and peace.

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