The chairman of the Kaduna State Peace Commission, Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, has advised religious leaders to see themselves as instruments of unity and not let their personal preferences come in the way of how they interact with the general population.
Bishop Idowu-Fearon was responding to a statement that “the amount of people who vote for APC in 2023 would determine the number of mad people in Nigeria,” which was made by Bishop David Oyedepo, General Overseer of Living Faith Church.
According to Bishop Fearon, it is improper for a religious leader to urge his congregation to support a certain political party because every congregation includes members with a range of political opinions and democracy is all about freedom of choice.
During a meeting of political parties, candidates, and stakeholders for peaceful campaigns and elections in Kaduna State, where 18 registered political parties, 14 candidates for governor, and candidates for the national assembly and state house of representatives signed a peace agreement, he spoke on the sidelines of the event.
The event was put together by KAPRCOM with assistance from Hope Action Progress, Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women, ActionAid, Christian Aid, Global Community Engagement and Resilient Fund, SARVE, and Global Peace Development.
The Anglican Bishop stated with displeasure that the Nigerian religious leaders’ desire to be viewed as rulers is not good for the nation or its democratic processes.
He added that “let candidates manifestos and competence speak for them and not their religion or tribe,” and that Nigerians must be permitted to cast their ballots according to their preferences regardless of religion and tribe.
In his words, “Religious leaders are part of the political problems we have in this country. Some of them want to be rulers which is a wrong concept bringing about unnecessary sentiments.”