The former speaker of the House of Representatives made this call in his goodwill message during the annual catholic Bishops conference held in Sokoto.
“Indeed this challenge is to the entire body of religious leaders of our nation: besides the family unit the church, mosque and school are society’s main fountains for character formation and reinforcement. This is a role our religious leaders cannot afford to abdicate. They must stand firmly as a bulwark against vices such as corruption, armed robbery, kidnapping, unconscionable shedding of innocent blood and the wanton destruction of property by not only exposing perpetrators but sanctioning those within their folds,” he said.
He also called for unity and peaceful coexistence, noting that the geopolitical, sociocultural and ethnoreligious composition of Nigeria is not an accident because God does not, and indeed cannot, make a mistake.
“It is a divine reality at the foundation of our coexistence and prosperity as a people and as a nation. Those who consider these factors as spices for divisive politics do the nation grave harm and disservice,” he added.
He argued that it is unfortunate that the appropriation of these factors as tools of divisiveness is promoted by the absence of good governance, stressing that where there is fairness and justice; where there is transparency and equality; where there is equitable patronage of all citizens and groups, the flame of nationalism will be ignited and foul spirit of ethnicity and religion will take flight.
He urged the church to pray for the country, adding that If the nation ever needed prayers for divine intervention, now is that time.
“My Lords, Nigeria faces challenging times: a slow- paced development, a crawling economy, a fledgling democracy, a precarious security situation and indeed an endangered polity bedevilled by heightened divisiveness. Indeed the forthcoming 2019 general elections is another challenge in its own rights. . As you deliberate at this auspicious conference, I implore you to consider prayers as a priority”.