Amid the controversy surrounding the All Progressives Congress (APC) Muslim-Muslim ticket, serving overseer of the Citadel Global Community Church and former All Progressives Congress presidential aspirant, Pastor Tunde Bakareon Sunday, urged Nigerians to prioritize nation-building over ethics or religious sentiment.
Bakare said so on Sunday in a statement he made available to reporters after the church service in Oregun, Ojota, Lagos, in reaction to the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the former governor. from Borno State, Alhaji Kashim Shettima.
The fiery preacher who urged Christian leaders to learn from past mistakes of not participating in politics said the development which was met with vehement opposition, rejections, resignations and resentments by members of the Christian community was not a problem as the aversion to what had been labeled the Muslim-Muslim ticket was not unexpected.
He urged Christian leaders to bring all candidates and their running mates across the country’s political parties to the negotiating table with an open mind to discuss and agree on a path for nation building and national development.
Bakare said, “As the champions of the message of the new Nigeria, we dream of a nation in which every Nigerian will be judged, not on their ethnicity, political orientation, regional affiliation or religious beliefs, but on the content of his character, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once proclaimed with regard to his nation, the United States of America (USA).
“We dream of a Nigeria where there will be no more natives or settlers but only a Nigerian citizen. We dream of a Nigeria where the state of residence will replace the state of origin in our official forms and where zoning or federal character will become archival aspects of our journey to political maturity.
“We dream of a Nigeria in which every woman and every man can claim any political office at any time without playing the ethnic card and without resorting to it’s our turn or it’s their turn”, a- he declared.
The cleric who said he chose to be a bridge between the past, present and future of Nigeria, added that “we have chosen to do this because we believe that building the new Nigeria is the call to all Nigerians worth their salt”.
According to him, the stalwart of Northern Nigerian politics, the late Prime Minister of Northern Nigeria, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Sir Ahmadu Bello recognized this moral obligation to ensure that diversity of beliefs is given due consideration. in public policy, adding that this information informed his statement to the people of northern Nigeria in a unifying message.
“As a result, Northern Nigeria has had its political foundation built on the principles of inclusion and religious harmony. This value system of religious neutrality and inclusion was manifested when the military forces in northern Nigeria seized power in the counter-coup of 1966. The military had the confidence to leave the nation under the custody of a Christian from a minority ethnic group in the North. General Yakubu Gowon would go on to rule Nigeria for nine years, keeping Nigeria in the midst of a civil war.
“So this moment calls on every Nigerian, North, South, East and West, to renew their commitment to the nation, building on what worked in the days of our founding fathers. , while learning from their mistakes and imperfections as we build a more perfect union.
“What we need is a new Nigeria that works for every Nigerian, Christian and Muslim alike. Nation, rather than division, must be the goal of every engagement.
“As Christian leaders, we must also realize that the church in Nigeria today is paying for decades of misguided teaching that posits that Christians have no place in politics. What is happening today is the price we must pay for the church’s years of failure to strategically participate in the political process,” he said.
Bakare said the antagonism that has been meted out to some of them who ventured from the pulpit to the podium, among other Christian leaders, was an indicator that a day would come when the church would face a revival. brutal consequences of passivity, apathy, non-participation and an anachronistic adherence to the Aaronic priesthood.
He added that “in the future, before 2023, we must learn from our mistakes. Christian leaders must, at this stage, bring candidates and their running mates to the negotiating table with an open mind and on the basis of a clearly articulated charter for nation building and national development.
“Christian leaders must, at this juncture, convene a strategic contest to define the minimum standards in all sectors of governance below which no Nigerian, Christian or Muslim, should be subjected. The SNG Charter and the Nigerian Charter for National Reconciliation and Reintegration which was unanimously adopted by delegates to the 2014 National Conference, can be a springboard for such sector-by-sector deliberations. This must be done by September, when the campaigns officially begin. The Charter can be launched in Abuja and can be called the Abuja Declaration for Nationhood.
“Subsequently, Christian leaders must then carefully engage each presidential candidate and running mate based on this Charter and provide unified leadership to the body of Christ in Nigeria after evaluating each presidential/vice presidential ticket based on indicators key performance indicators around the Charter. This would be a more mature, structured and strategic way of responding to the situation compared to the emotional reactions that have dominated the regime since the choice of a running mate was made by the presidential candidate of the ‘APC.
“For Christians in northern Nigeria who feel marginalized by the choice of a northern Muslim as their running mate, now is the time to shift the conversation from politics to governance. impact of politics on development,” he said.