….Religion shouldn’t be a factor in moving Nigeria forward — Lawyers
By Gabriel Olawale & James Ogunnaike
THE Ogun Baptist Conference, yesterday, rejected the adoption of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, describing it as a display of gross insensitivity to the complexity of Nigeria and the entire Church.
President of the Ogun Baptist Conference, Rev ‘Wale Oyeniyi, said this at a press conference to usher in the 45th Edition of Conference in Session to be held at First Baptist Church, ‘Laditan, Oja-Odan and hosted by Irepodun Oke-Yewa Baptist Association from 6th to 10th of August, 2022.
The conference, theme, ‘Christian Lifestyle: Attitude of Gratitude, will have over 500 Churches within Ogun State in 26 Baptist Associations in attendance.
Oyeniyi, while urging Christians in Nigeria not to vote for any religious – biased party, reminded them of the subtle political movement in Turkey and some Asian countries that subtly and successfully turned them into Muslim states today.
His words: “Those pushing for the Muslim-Muslim ticket don’t mean well for the country and the citizens. Those who say religion doesn’t matter are not saying the truth. In our current state in this country, religion matters so much because the last few years have witnessed heavy attacks on people of a particular religion. They include mass killings, kidnapping of clerics and other forms of attack. Religion matters a lot now.
“I make bold to submit that there are competent hands in the Christian fold who can be entrusted with top political posts and who will make a whole lot of difference in governance with an attendant positive impact on the lives of the citizens of this country.
“Nigeria is in a hyper state of polarization. The country boils with inter-ethnic distrust and inter-religious discord. Consequently, the populace irrespective of location or region has been on edge for some time, their living space being devastated by unchecked terrorist acts by extremist Islamist groups and run-away violence by herdsmen. The overt nepotism of the number one citizen of the country, President Muhammadu Buhari, has exacerbated feelings of sectional injustice and marginalization.
“The selection of a Muslim running mate by the APC is a display of gross insensitivity to the complexity of modern Nigeria and the entire Church.
“It is a betrayal of the advocacy for unity and peaceful co-existence with our Muslim brothers including notables Imams who had forewarned the party and the candidate from travelling that treacherous route. The Christian community is aggrieved about the emergence of a Muslim from Northern Nigeria as the running mate of APC’s presidential candidate.
“The move by the APC in choosing a Muslim is a slap on the face of Christian faith. Secondly, desperation and over-ambition is noticed in the whole process: ‘We just want power at all costs and we don’t care what others think or do; we can win the elections without you, especially by other means other than by open ballot.
“No region can boast of winning the election without the support from other regions; also, no party should think that an election could be won by relying on the support of one religion in Nigeria.
“Furthermore, the APC’s Muslim-Muslim ticket is an indication of a hidden agenda. The APC has always come under the suspicion of the Church as pursuing an Islamisation agenda.
“The insinuation that Muslim-Muslim ticket thrived in 1993 and that the same can be considered now may be tenable if the country has not been so divided in line of ethnicity and religion as we have it today. The spirit of Hope 93 died with MKO and those who betrayed him and his mandate.”
Religion shouldn’t be a factor in moving Nigeria forward- Lawyers
But countering the Ogun Baptist Convention, lawyers under the umbrella of Lawyers Network for Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, LANBAT, yesterday urged Nigerians not to place more emphasis on religion when issues of moving the country forward.
Speaking during the awareness and sensitization walk in Lagos, the lawyers, who spoke through their leader, Mr Dotun Ajulo said that religion has never had anything to do with Nigeria since its inception.
Ajulo said religion has been politicised, noting that the country would not have remained the same if the tenets of both religions have been strictly followed.
He recalled that it was the former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu that restored formerly withheld missionary schools by the military administration.
His words: “Regarding the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC, Religion has never had anything to do in Nigeria. Anything about religion has been politics.
“We will not take you through the constitutional provisions about religion considering the secularity of Nigerians.
“If the Christians and Muslims have remained within the tenets of the scripture, the country will not be where it is today. The military administration withheld the missionary schools for Ansar’u deen but Tinubu came and restored.”