John Alechenu, Abuja
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Abubakar, the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Samson Ayokunle, and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, have said bloodletting across Nigeria must stop for development to take place.
The three leaders spoke at the National Stakeholders’ Summit on the 2019 Election Integrity and the official unveiling of the let the votes count, “Rig No Vote”, organised by Youths off the Streets Initiative in Abuja, on Thursday.
The Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Abubakar, in his remarks at the event, emphasised the need for leaders to ensure that justice prevailed in Nigeria.
He said no leader could claim to be God-fearing when they are unjust in discharging their functions.
Quoting Othman Dan Fodio, the Sultan said, “A country can endure with unbelief, but a country cannot endure with injustice.”
He also said, “One thing that is clear is that everybody is talking positively about what must happen in Nigeria and that is what we must do, by insisting that things must happen the way the constitution, which is the law of the land and our religion permits them to happen.
“As Christians and Muslims, we know the sacredness of life. We cannot go about killing innocent people and claiming to be doing so in the name of religion.
“All of us must rise up against those people and let them know that this is not our religion. There is too much blood shedding in Nigeria, the blood of innocent people who do not even know what is happening.”
Speaking in a similar vein, CAN President, Ayokunle, stated, “It is very unfortunate that the best Nigerian is not the leader of the nation. We don’t want a mediocre, we don’t need a mediocre because you can only offer what you have, and you cannot offer what you don’t have.
“And we, in this 21st century, should be able to take our destines in our own hands by saying no to anyone, no matter how highly placed, that wants to manipulate elections thereby mortgaging the future of Nigerians.
“Can’t we have a people-oriented, selfless leader, somebody that can add value and make all Nigerians proud? Actually, the religion one practises is not what matters but the quality of that person, quality in terms of serving Nigerians selflessly, objectively without nepotism or any other mundane considerations.”
He charged the Independent National Electoral Commission to be impartial in conducting its affairs.
In his remarks, the Ooni of Ife urged those in positions of authority to take practical steps to address the issue of Nigeria’s population growth.
He said unless the country took practical steps to provide for its growing youth population which constitute close to seventy per cent of the nation’s population, the nation would be the worse for it in the nearest future.
Ogunwusi said, “Let us not hide under any colour, the active population of this country is about 150 million people with a bleak future. The young men that were apprehended and paraded for kidnapping the Chibok girls are below the age of 30.
“They thought they were doing business because they were very ignorant of what they were doing. There is a problem in this country. What are our leaders doing to orientate them? How are we orientating our youths?
“Anytime we want to destroy this country, we go to this set of Nigerians, give them money and the whole problem will start and the leaders won’t be able to handle it.”