Sultan of Sokoto and President General of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Mr Sa’ad Abubakar, has expressed worry that Nigerians have become more divided because of political differences.
He said: “If Nigeria has these troubles in 2019 then, I have my fears over 2023. The signs are already on ground. Brothers no longer talk to one another. Friends are now divided in a very terrible way because they were insulting one another before the elections. Neighbours now hate each other because they belong to different political parties”.
Speaking during 2019 General Assembly of the Da’awah Coordination Council of Nigeria (DCCN) held at his palace, Sultan noted that 2019 elections witnessed very disturbing trend “with religious leaders who ought to be neutral, openly pitching tent with candidates”.
The religious leader said despite the fact that the presidential contest was basically between two Muslims, some respected Muslim and Christian clerics turned their worship places to avenues for campaigns.
“We, who are 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 Muslim preachers to preach against anyone,” he said.
He further stated: “We should ask ourselves why have things changed. Is it because of the greed of our religious leaders who collect money to preach support for a particular candidate? Let us try to discourage that, because the religion preaches love for all.”
Sultan noted that 2019 elections are over and that it is time to start planning for 2023.
“Let us begin to plan on how to ensure peace and peaceful coexistence before, during and after the general elections.
“Let’s work towards peace and having a society where everybody is free to exist in peace. Let us start working on our challenges from now by trying to collectively decide to do what is right,” he said.
He tasked religious leaders to preach peace at all times.
“We have much more challenges now that we cannot in any way deny. You have heard and seen that the challenges are real. You can see the insecurity in the North-West. “
Also speaking, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal, who declared the assembly open, said a lot needed to be done to project the true image of Islam, especially to youths.
“If the true teachings of Islam are shown to the world, those having misconceptions about the religion would have a change of heart,” he stated.
Also, Mr Salihu Mikalilu said Nigeria is a multi-religious society and citizens 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. Islam guarantees all forms of rights including right to life. Therefore, Quran forbids killing of human beings under whatever guise except if such pronouncement is backed by law,” he said.
Earlier, President of Da’awah Coordination Council of Nigeria (DCCN), Mr Lawal Maidoki, said the meeting was for stocktaking as well as to work on the future.