As political campaigns for the 2023 general elections begin on Wednesday across the country, the Federal Government, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Sultan of Sokoto and Head of Nigeria’s Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs , NSCIA, Mohammed Abubakar and President, Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Daniel Okoh have called on religious leaders and other Nigerians to be wary of words that could provoke a crisis in the country.
They tasked Nigerians, regardless of region and religious and ethnic differences to work together for peace and justice in the country.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who represented the FG, along with others, made the call on Monday, during the third quarter 2022 meeting of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, NIREC, which held on Victoria Island. , Lagos.
They stressed that the appeal was necessary because the ban on political campaigning will begin on Wednesday.
The theme of the event was: “Let’s work together for justice and peace”.
Boss Mustapha, represented by Dr. Maurice Nnamdi Mbaeri on this occasion, instructed the religious leaders to work for peace and unity in the country.
He said the meeting was a call to the national duty to take an active part in the renewal of struggling communities.
“There is a need for people to work for justice, peace and fair play in order to create the change needed to promote unity, peace and harmony in Nigeria.”
Sanwo-Olu in his address urged religious and traditional leaders to continue to make it a collective responsibility to preach and work for the promotion of unity, peace, justice and tranquility in Nigeria .
Speaking on the theme, Sanwo-Olu said promoting unity, peace, justice and tranquility in Nigeria will bring about peaceful co-existence among people.
“I believe that with the NIREC case that we have today and have seen consistently, this country will not be put to shame. I hope that the conversations, discussions and decisions at the NIREC meeting will further reinforce this thing that we have all sworn to; to ensure justice, peace and equity in this country.
“We are at a time when this country needs all of us, now more than ever before and therefore, we should not allow hate speech. We cannot afford ethnic bigotry. We cannot afford to be divided. We are going to the elections; let us see the commitment and nationality in all of us,” he urged Nigerians.
Sanwo-Olu also expressed his administration’s commitment to delivering the dividends of democracy in Lagos State. “As a political leader, the only way not to disappoint our people is to ensure good governance. I am here as your 15th governor of Lagos State and I want to reiterate that the ‘Greater Lagos’ agenda is something we are committed to and signed up to.”
On the ongoing strike by the university’s academic staff union, ASUU, and the union standoff with FG, Sanwo-Olu said that “although none of the three Lagos State-owned universities are on strike, it is painful that children from other universities have been at home for the past seven months.
The governor, who called on ASUU to call off the strike and bring students back to school, said the university union and the federal government should quickly resolve the lingering issue requiring a strike lasting more than seven months “in order to not jeopardize the future of our children.”
NIREC co-chair Abubakar said the role of religious leaders is to be fair and just to gain the trust of the people.
He urged Muslims and Christians in the country to unite in pursuit of peace and justice, noting that they are inseparable.
Abubakar also pleaded with ASUU to obey the court order by calling off the ongoing strike.
He urged the government and ASUU to consider the future of Nigerian youths and addressed the issue for the sake of the youths.
Abubakar revealed various attempts made by NIREC to resolve the ongoing confrontation between ASUU and the government before the issue finally ended in court, but promised that the organization would not give up in order to ensure that the parties reach an amicable settlement.
He said the meeting followed the lifting of the ban on political activities in Nigeria and given the importance of religion and platform, the topic of the meeting was likely to share notes and discuss issues because there was a need to fight the course of justice and peace.
The Sultan of Sokoto, co-chairman of NIREC, said the role of religious leaders is to be fair and just to gain the trust of the people.
He also urged Muslims and Christians in the country to unite in pursuit of peace and justice as they are inseparable.
He pleaded with ASUU to call off the ongoing strike, saying the federal government and the university union should find common ground to resolve their dispute in the interest of students, who have not been to the school in the last seven months.
Okoh, urged people to embrace peace, refrain from hate speech, live in peaceful coexistence with each other, be accountable, elect leaders with capabilities in the 2023 general election and hating tribal feelings, among other vices.
In his speech, NIREC Executive Secretary Cornelius Omonokhua said the meeting was aimed at changing existing narratives to allow justice and peace to reign in Nigeria.
He said there was a need for mental re-engineering, change of values and attitudes as well as radical emancipation to tackle the root of various calamities of national concern.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Home Affairs of Lagos State, Prince Anofiu Elegushi called on religious leaders to continue preaching peace and unity to foster the development of the country.