By Angela Atabo
A forum of religious leaders and traditional rulers has urged pastors and Imams to shun partisanship as the nation approaches the general elections.
The group made the call at a High-level Religious Leaders Forum on the Responsibility of Religious Leaders, Faith communities in the forthcoming elections in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the forum was organised by Community Life Project, an NGO.
Dr Khalid Aliyu, Secretary General, Jamaátu Nasril Islam (JNI), said that the call was imperative because most of the electoral issues were borne out of the selfish desires of religious leaders who took sides.
“I urge pastors and Imams to be true servants of God and not accidental ones or quacks ,you cannot be what you are not.
“If you are looking for money just go and do business and allow religious people to do their thing, be true religious leaders through devotion, worship and an exemplary leadership.
“Shy away from the demon of materialism because a lot of the religious leaders are only there based on what they will get ,but I urge you to be good examples to your followers,’’ Aliyu said.
He called on candidates to play the game according to the rules and take it easy by imbibing global best practice without rancour and violence.
Rev. George Ehusani, Founder, Lux Terra Foundation, called on the Federal Government to deploy every instrument to make sure that everyone complied with the electoral law to ensure fair play during the forthcoming polls.
He also urged religious leaders to train, retrain and talk to their followers on voter education and to shun social vices that could destroy the country.
He also urged them to be true spiritual leaders and not to be partisan.
Alhaji Hussaini Mam, the Agabe of Gwagwalada in Kuje Area Council, described the meeting as apt.
Mam advised the people to vote for credible candidates and avoid selling their votes.
Ms Ngozi Iwere, Executive Director, CLP, said the event was organised under the group’s ReclaimNiaja project, to bring the faith communities and traditional rulers to chart the way for peaceful elections.
Iwere said that it was high time for the leaders to be awakened to their responsibility of talking to their followers on doing the right thing.
“If you notice, there is a lot of ethno-religious tension going around and a lot of divisive messages and we think that religious leaders can curb it.
“It is their responsibility to take a stand and help to promote violence-free and fair elections.”
NAN reports that Community Life Project is committed to promoting citizens participation in electoral transparency, accountability and good governance.