The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, has urged Nigerians to shun all forms of conflict and violence before, during and after the forthcoming 2019 General Elections.
Abubakar, represented by the Emir of Keffi, Dr Shehu Chindo-Yamusa III, made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja at a Peace Declaration Summit.
The summit, organised by the Nigerian Interfaith Action Association (NIFAA) in collaboration with local and international partners, had the theme: “Promote and Sustain Peaceful Co-existence among Nigerians’’.
The Sultan said that every Nigerian citizen had the right to vote for whoever he or she thought could meet their yearnings and aspirations.
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He said that there was, therefore, no reason for Nigerians to fight one another in the name of politics.
“No society or country will achieve meaningful development without peace and harmony. I, therefore, appeal to all citizens to live in peace with one another irrespective of their political affiliations.
“I also appeal to traditional and religious leaders to spread the language of peace in their domain to ensure sustainable peace and development in the country.
“As preparations for the 2019 elections gathers momentum, I want to use this medium to appeal to the masses to shun all forms of violence and disagreement that can disrupt peaceful coexistence in the country.
“Everybody should vote for the candidate of his choice whom he thinks can provide all his needs and demands,’’ Abubakar added.
The Sultan commended the interfaith group for its efforts towards strengthening unity among Muslims and Christians in the country and it encouraged it to not to relax in educating Nigerians to shun conflicts and religious intolerance.
Earlier, the Executive Director, NIFAA, Bishop Sunday Onuoha, said the association had so far trained and equipped no fewer than two million religious leaders in advancing the cause of peace and development among Muslims and Christians.
Onuoha said NIFAA believed that it was only through peace that the potential of people could be fully realised, adding that the end to bitter wars and conflicts could only be in the attainment of peace.
“Our tasks here as religious leaders and clerics is to get involved in strengthening peace as contained in our Holy Books and holding ourselves and our political leaders accountable.
“We are also to preach peaceful political transition as the country looks forward to the 2019 elections,’’ the NIFAA director said.
He lauded the Sultan and Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) President for their efforts in promoting peaceful living among believers of various faiths.
Onuoha described the efforts of the Sultan and the CAN president as “inspirational”.