Don’t surrender religion to politicians, cleric urges Nigerians

Group photograph of participants of one day roundtable on Religion and Politics in Kaduna State, on Friday July 7, 2023 (NAN)
Group photograph of participants of one day roundtable on Religion and Politics in Kaduna State, on Friday July 7, 2023 (NAN)
The Secretary of Provincial  Secretariat of Church and Society Kaduna, Fr Onuh Ladi, has urged Nigerians not to surrender religion to politicians.
Ladi made the call on Friday at a roundtable on Religion and Politics in Kaduna State.
The roundtable was organised by the Provincial Secretariat in partnership with Global Peace Foundation of Nigeria (GPFN), supported by Caritas Nigeria.
He said that the call was important to ensure that religion was not manipulated by politicians for their selfish agenda.
According to him, religion being important in the society, is meant to guide people on morals based on their faith or spirituality, while politicians look after the society through managing its laws.
Ladi therefore said both religious and political leaders should work harmoniously “without the people surrendering their Mosques, Churches, pulpits or alters for politicians to manipulate, especially during elections, for their selfish interests”.
The cleric,  however, said religious leaders should do more than just talking, by reaching out to one another for peaceful coexistence in the state.
He tasked government to create enabling environment where peace, justice, equity and fairness will reign.
Also, Rev. John Hayab, the Country Director, GPFN, lamented that people now make dangerous utterances under the guise of politics and  religion.
He said that such utterances were detrimental to the progress and development of the society.
Hayab noted that such issues were not at play in the past, adding that people must rediscover themselves and be loving and caring to one another.
He admonished the people not to shed their love for humanity.
“Everybody you see on the street is a member of your family, what connects us is bigger than what divides us, the reality is that we are all humans and one.
“We don’t have any market for Muslims or Christians, we also don’t have any medicine for specific religion in the market, the only thing is, we are all human beings,” he added.
Hayab therefore, said Muslims and Christians in the state must respect and tolerate one another, and resist those preaching division and promoting bigotry amongst them.
He admonished politicians to be good ambassadors of humanity for peace to thrive in the state and country in general.
Mr Felix Hyat, the state Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party, said leaders must be careful about their utterances, and strive to be role models in their actions and inactions.
He called on Kaduna State Government to build bridges of peace across the state, and pledged their support as opposition politicians, in promoting peace, progress and tranquility.
“If the incumbent administration of Kaduna state will make the people happy irrespective of their religious, ethnic or cultural affiliation, we will have no reason to oppose the government.
“Opposition does not really means criticising the government; when they are right support them, and when they derail, call them to order,” Hyat said.
He also advised all politicians to show good example through fairness, selflessness, and dedication to the service of the people, so as to redeem their lost image in the society.
Mr Atiku Sankey, Special Adviser to Kaduna State Governor on Peace and Conflict Resolution, said the nexus between politics and religion in the state was very delicate, as both had caused conflicts in the past.
According to him, there should be better engagement among political and religious stakeholders to change the  ugly narrative of the past and foster peaceful coexistence in the state.
Sankey said government and all stakeholders have to do more to deliberately reintegrate the people.
“Integration takes a long time, we therefore could have public policies that will encourage more integration from kindergarten stage to tertiary institution stages.
“Most of our institutions especially primary, secondary and unity schools cut across missionary and Islamic schools, and are tools of integration,” he said.
Sankay also called for massive political education to promote unity and integration. (NAN)


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