By Emmanuel Asuquo
Dr. Kayode Fayemi, Former Governor of Ekiti State has called on all to channel their political discourse as we approach the 2015 polls around ideology not identity and religion.
“Our challenge as Civil Society and enlightened citizens as we approach the 2015 elections is to shape political discourse around ideology rather than identity, so that candidates will be judged much more by how they intend to address our challenges not by where they hail from or what faith they practice”, he said.
Dr. Fayemi made this call while delivering his paper at the GLEEHD Foundation’s ThinkTank Series with the theme “2015 Elections: What has Faith Got to do with it?”, in Lagos recently.
He accused the ruling party of poor performance and for stoking ethno-religious sentiments and pushing the country to the brink of crisis as a way of retaining power in 2015. “This can be deciphered from the ethnic jingoists who brazenly threaten fire and brimstone if President Jonathan is not returned in 2015, as well as the predilection of our President to stage manage visits to influential spiritual leaders and exploit their goodwill to masquerade as the anointed candidate of people of a particular faith”, he maintained.
Speaking on the same faith ticket, Fayemi observed that the issue of faith as it concerns the 2015 elections is being reduced to discussions about viability of a ticket that features Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates of the same faith. According to him, it is not absolute for all parties in serious contention to ensure both the Muslim and Christian faiths are represented as either Presidential or Vice-Presidential candidates. In his words, “this unfortunately skirts around the main issue and does not address the substance of how we want to get out of the mess we currently find ourselves in.”
Speaking further, he expressed fear on the 2015 elections, “we are going into the 2015 elections a deeply divided people, with the elections itself being a potential source of polarization”.
In forestalling the unforeseen, he called on all civil societies and individuals to push for peace and National Cohesion to the top of the agenda as the single most important factor in determining who the next president of Nigeria should be. Also, he admonished Civil Societies and the Media to take note and moderate the rhetoric of the political operatives towards the 2015 elections and to ensure that the contents of the political communication of various candidates and their parties are within the confines of civility and advises that the political debates must not be poised with incitement as most conflicts begin from the realm of political communication.
Fayemi advocated for the harmonious co-operation of Politics and Religion in bringing out the best that is in man, as the 2015 elections is a great opportunity to redefine Nigeria as a peaceful and prosperous secular state with functional citizens of different tribes and tongues, working together to make Nigeria the greatest country in the world.