The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Daniel Okoh, have said the clerics will not allow any politician to take the country hostage in 2023.
And even when the Methodist prelate, Dr. Samuel Kanu-Uche, insisted that the nation will maintain its unity and make progress when the government works in synergy with religious groups.
They said this while speaking at a valedictory dinner in honor of the immediate past president of CAN, Reverend Samson Ayokunle in Abuja.
Advising both Christian and Muslim clerics to be hospitable to any political office aspirant who seeks their support, the Sultan, however, ordered them to scrutinize their development plans for the nation.
He said: “As you know, the time for political campaigning is about to begin. Candidates for political office and politicians will come looking for our votes. We must treat them well and preach them to be righteous and fear God in all that they do.
“We must not play the blame game and allow anyone to take our country hostage. We know that politicians will come to you and us as they do everywhere and promise things they cannot deliver.
“Let’s challenge them. If someone tells you they’re going to do this or that, ask them “how you’re going to do it.”
“As the Nigerian Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, we will sit and discuss these issues. At this level, we will also reach out to the political leaders, sit down with them and discuss with them what their plans are for this country. Then we will decide who Almighty God sees fit to lead the country.”
In his remarks, the President of CAN, Rev. Daniel Okoh, said Christian clerics will continue to dialogue with their Muslim counterparts for the sake of the nation.
According to him, “We will continue to work together for peaceful coexistence among people of all ethnicities and religious persuasions as we choose to positively impact the political, economic and social systems of our dear nation.
Earlier, in his presentation titled “Reflections on Christianity and Nigeria”, Methodist Prelate Kanu-Uche explained that the ideal relationship between religious groups and the state should be such that the welfare needs of the people are addressed from all angles.
“While the state looks after the physical well-being of the masses and the present, the church will look after the spiritual well-being of the masses and their future in the next world.
“In the matter of the government dealing with the physical problems of the present and the Church attending to the spiritual issues of the afterlife, we see the need for the state and the church to shake hands for mutual benefit, because you cannot care about the future without being concerned with the present and you cannot concern yourself with the present and close your eyes before the future,” he said.
He further stated that due to the issue of government power and the need to ensure a proper relationship with religious groups, the church must continue to ensure that its participation through its members continues and that it continues to engage and negotiate power.
“The Church must continue to ensure that it has a prominent seat at the table of power,” he advised.