The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, and the President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, have said that clerics will not allow any politician take the country hostage come 2023.
This is even as the Methodist Prelate, Dr. Samuel Kanu-Uche, insisted that the nation will maintain its unity and achieve progress when the government work in synergy with religious groups.
They stated these while speaking at a valedictory dinner in honour of the immediate past CAN president, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, in Abuja.
The Sultan, who advised both Christian and Muslim clerics to be hospitable to all political office seekers who solicit their support, however, charged them to thoroughly interrogate their developmental plans for the nation.
He said, “As you know the time for political campaign will soon start. Political office seekers and politicians will come to seek our votes. We have to treat them well and preach to them to be just and fear God in whatever they do.
“We must not play the blame-game and allow anyone to take our country hostage. We know politicians will come to you and to us as well as going everywhere, promising things that they cannot deliver.
“Let’s challenge them. If someone tells you that they are going to do this or that, ask them ‘how are you going to do it.
“As Nigeria Interreligious Council, NIREC, we will sit and discuss these issues. At that level also, we will reach out to political leaders, sit with them and discuss with them what plans they have for this country. Then we will decide who, as God Almighty seems it fit, will lead the country.”
In his remarks, the CAN President, Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, said the Christian clerics will continue to dialogue with their Muslim counterparts in the interest of the nation.
According to him, “We will continue to collaborate together for the peaceful co-existence among people of all ethnic groups and religious leanings as we resolve to make a positive impact on the political, economic and social systems of our dear nation.”
Earlier, in his presentation titled, ‘Reflections on Christianity and Nigeria’, the Methodist prelate Kanu-Uche explained that the ideal relationship between the religious groups and the State should such that the welfare needs of the people are addressed from all angles.
“While the State attends to the physical well-being of the masses and the present, the Church will attend to the spiritual well being of the masses and their future in the Hereafter.
“It is in the matter of government addressing the physical issues of the Present and the Church minding the spiritual issues of the Hereafter that we see the need for the State and Church to have a mutually beneficial handshake for you cannot care about the future without being concerned about the present and you cannot dwell on the present and turn a blind eye to the future,” he said.
He further stated that given the matter of the power of the government and the need to ensure the proper relationship with faith groups, the Church must continue to ensure that her participation through her members continues and that she continues to engage and negotiate power.
“The Church must continue to ensure that she has a prominent seat at the table of power,” he counseled.