Tunde Omolehin, Sokoto
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has urged Nigerians to reject any leader forced on them in the 2023 elections.
The Sultan also urged the people to make sure thry elect only leaders of their choice, in elections.
The monarch equally expressed worry that Nigerians have become more worrisomely divided because of political differences and noted that, if Nigeria hadthese troubles in 2019, in 2023, the signs are already on ground.
“Brothers no longer talk to each other. Friends are now divided in very terrible way because they have been insulting one another before the election. Neighbours now hate each other because they belong to different political parties,” he added.
He said these during the 2019 General Assembly of the Da’awah Coordination Council of Nigeria (DCCN) held at the Sultan’s Palace, in Sokoto State.
The religious leader said despite that the contest was between two Muslims who were the candidates of the two major political parties, the APC and PDP, some respected Muslim and Christian clerics turned their worship places to avenue of campaigns; for either of the two candidates.
“We, religious leaders, have to be careful of what we tell our followers because, most of them are not educated and will take whatever you say as true.”
“I have been an observer of elections over the years and have never declared support for any candidate.
“As a religious leader, I have never asked Imams or Muslims preachers to preach against anybody or in support of any as well.
“Prior to 2019, you heard and saw Muslim and Christian leaders preaching things that you find difficult to respond to.
“We should ask ourselves; why have things changed that way? Is it because of the greed of our religious leaders, who collects monies to preach their support for a particular candidate?
“Let’s try to discourage that because religion preaches love for all.”
The Sultan however added that the “2019 elections have come and gone. Although there are court issues here and there but, let us begin to plan ahead of 2023 on how to ensure that we have leaders that are our choice and not those that are forced on people.
“So, let’s begin to plan on how to ensure peace and peaceful co-existence before, during and after the general election.”
Also, Professor Salihu Mikalilu who delivered a lecture on the occasion said: “Nigeria is a multi-religious society and we have to appreciate that.
“The diversity in itself is not the problem but, when it is taken to oppress others, it now becomes a problem”.
Earlier, DCCN President, Alhaji Lawal Maidoki, said the meeting was for stock-taking; as well as work on the future.