Don’t divide Oyo along religious lines, group warns Makinde

f oyo state governor seyi makinde
f oyo state governor seyi makinde

An Oyo-based socio-political group, under the aegis of Better Oyo Movement, has warned the state governor, Seyi Makinde, against dividing the state along religious line ahead of the 2023 governorship election.

The chairman of the group, Dr Femi Fakunle, in a statement, noted that attempts to divide the people of the state by religion would be met with disappointment, adding that the people’s opinion could not be changed using religion.

The group was reacting to a viral message purportedly issued by the Oyo State Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria which read, “Your Eminences, Christian Association Of Nigeria Oyo State Chapter has decided that we should please persuade members of our congregation to cast their votes for Engr Seyi Makinde of PDP for the continuation of sustainable development in Oyo State on Saturday, 11 March, 2O23. It is a Christian mandate. God bless. Chairman CAN Oyo State.”

The group noted that only “desperation” would have pushed the governor to make such pleas.

The statement read, “Oyo Muslims, Christians and traditionalists, including freethinkers, have always co-existed peaceably, in line with the Yoruba’s lifelong history of tolerance, love and understanding, with almost all families having members practising one or two of these faiths, and everyone joyfully celebrating each other’s festivals.

“What desperation has now pushed candidate Makinde into pressurising CAN, to the point the association can begin forwarding divisive messages like this, is the stuff of fables, which demands critical interrogation. So Governor Makinde is now the Christian mandate? Pray, which mandates are other contestants?

“Is this election now a matter of life and death, or what straw won’t the governor cling to in his bid to earn an unmerited re-election? Are Christians the only residents in a state like Oyo with a fair and equitable share of several adherents?”

The group urged the governor and his handlers to refrain from such remarks, so as not to “set the state on fire,” adding that CAN should also refrain from meddling in politics.

“We call on Gov. Makinde not to set Oyo State on fire and advise him to call his handlers to order, lest they engineer an unimaginable religious crisis, whose end no one can tell.

“Equally, we call on CAN not to dabble into the murky waters of politics, especially since Oyo State isn’t a one-party state, and essentially because what should bother the church is the continued spreading of the good news and not some power struggle.

“We wish to remind Gov. Makinde and CAN that winning an election into an executive position demands broad-based support and not just some sectional endorsement that gives that candidate off as the anointed candidate of any religion. If for anything, Labour Party’s Peter Obi’s loss in the just concluded presidential election is a classic example of how not to be a sectional candidate,” the statement added.