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

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - POLITICS & POLICY - By Ke­hinde Olatunji

Acoali­tion 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 democra- cy.

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.

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