From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Against the backdrop of utterances considered not palatable coming from religious leaders, the Chairman Kaduna State Peace Commission (KAPECOM) Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon has said that religious leaders must see themselves as instruments of unity, their political preferences not withstanding.
Bishop Idowu-Fearon who stated this while interracting with Reporters at the Commission office advised against religious leaders seeing themselves as rulers, a situation he said is not helping the country in its Democratic processes.
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Bishop Idowu-Fearon admonished that Nigerians must be allowed to vote their choices regardless of religion and tribe, stressing that, “let candidates manifestoes and competence speak for them and not their religion or tribe”.
‘Religious leaders are part of the political problems we have in this country, some of them want to be rulers which is a wrong concept bringing about unnecessary sentiments”.
Archbishop Idowu-Fearon expressed the fear that the elections might be inconclusive in the first ballot because of politics of regional and tribal sentiments.
On the agitation by the South East for the presidency, he said, Nigeria is practicing democracy which requires negotiation and not threat of any kind, adding that politics should not be seen as a do or die affairs.
“Insecurity and burning down of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in the South East will only end up drawing the region backward politically if not addressed holistically”.
Archbishop Idowu-Fearon also said that leaders of the region are certainly not doing enough to address the situation, hence it has lasted this long unabated.
” As we approach the elections, the media must be objective, religious leaders must educate their members to vote based on competence and pray for the candidates because voting is a religious responsibility.
” Party candidates must be honest and should abide by the constitution and their campaigns must be issue based devoid of hate speeches and calumny, above all we pray for a violent free conduct of 2023 general elections” he said.