Clerics set agenda for President-elect | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Clerics set agenda for President-elect

Posted: Apr 19, 2015 at 12:11 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Aramide Oikelome Snr Correspondent, Lagos

In view of the new wave of change blowing across the nation, many have argued that one of the most compelling assignments before the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari and the new administration, is the need to find a way to foster harmony and unite the already grossly polarized and divided nation, especially in areas of religious and ethnic differences.



This is coming on the heels of the obvious disenfranchisement of many Nigerians with one another, owing to the fact that the major contenders in the just concluded Presidential elections used religion and ethnicity as a major weapon during their electioneering campaigns; a situation which made many clerics, especially pastors to pitch tent one against another.

Speaking with Sunday Independent on the just concluded elections, octogenarian Senior Pastor of Soul Winning Ministries and member of the National Advisory Board, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria Rev. Dr. Moses Iloh admitted that religion is such a highly emotive issue, which unfortunately, politicians use as “weapon to cover up their misdeeds.”

Although Rev. Iloh upholds that the outcome of the election is; “As Providence Commands (APC), the cleric laments the fact that “although the elections have come and gone, the reverberating effect and the wound it has inflicted on the church, in the face of numerous scandals, accusations and counter-accusations will take a long time to heal because pastors no longer trust each other.”

He therefore advises the President-elect: “Although Nigerians have earmarked some states as having assiduously worked against your election to the position of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I suggest that your urgent developmental actions start from those states, no matter how minimal they may be; to show your broadmindedness and determination to be a blessing to Nigeria and Nigerians by way of giving equal attention to all and sundry.”

Suffice it to say that in the last three years, Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) has practically gone comatose due to the cold war that existed between the two principal members, namely the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Sa’ad Abubakar IV and the National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor.

Expressing disappointment at the development, the Senior Pastor of Trinity House Church, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo said, “For the first time religion has really become a big issue especially from the way some political groups have portrayed themselves to be representing some religion or the other and portrayed others to be anti-religious, which is very unfortunate because this is not how Nigeria used to be. For the first time religion has become an aggressive point. Religion has not been well managed.”



It is therefore expected that the incoming administration of General Muhammadu Buhari and Pastor Yemi Osinbajo will do its best to promote both inter and intra-faith harmony in Nigeria.

One pertinent area the Senior Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly and erstwhile Vice Presidential candidate of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change, Pastor Tunde Bakare would want the incoming administration to give utmost attention and care is the area of appointing officers that will run the government with him.

Bakare warns Buhari not to appoint people with questionable character into his government; else they will constitute a hindrance to his resolve to fight corruption.

“The vultures are now going round and round. If Buhari does not have quality people around him, then they will put round pegs in square holes and within two years, we are back to square one. I congratulate Nigerians; we have chosen a man of integrity as our President. But integrity is not enough to run a government.

“May the good Lord surround the President-elect with men and women of goodwill, great intellectual capacity, competence and character to help restore our wasted years.

“I pray sincerely that not all those who facilitated his winning the election will be among those who run the government. I did say before the election that I trust the person of General Buhari but not all those around him. I mean every word of it because many of them are nothing but Ali Baba and 40 thieves. And if these are the same who would go into government, you can’t fight evil with evil. You can as well kiss the anti-corruption stance of Mr. President-elect goodbye.”

On his part, the General Overseer of the All Christians Fellowship Mission in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Rev. William Okoye wants the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to reduce the cost of governance by taking another look at the remunerations of political office holders, a package which many have queried as being the highest when compared to other democracies across the world.

As more and more clerics continue to bare their minds on their expectations, there is no denying the fact that hopes are high that the incoming administration will not only talk the talk but walk the talk as it delivers on its electioneering promises of good governance, justice, equity and prosperity for all. And given the overwhelming support rendered to Buhari and Pastor Oshinbajo at the polls and the statesmanship displayed by the incumbent president in conceding victory, Nigerians believe that true democratic process and its dividends at both local and international levels have come to stay in Nigeria. How that will play out for the incoming administration, time will tell.