Sultan of Sokoto Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III has urged religious leaders to promote their views with caution to avoid heating up the polity ahead of the general elections.
He deplored the way some clerics predict the winners of elections, saying the trend could cause a crisis, especially if the proclaimed candidate loses.
The Sultan, who is also President of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, stated this during the second general assembly of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP) in Abuja yesterday.
He regretted that politicians were creating so much tension in the country. According to him, since religious leaders know that power comes from God, they should pray that their preferred candidates win rather than sell out to vote seekers.
He said: “As religious leaders, we should be careful about what we say to our followers in churches and mosques, bearing in mind that we will all, one day, stand before Allah and account for our deeds. We should never allow ourselves to be used by any political party or candidate. If you want to support any party or candidates, do it personally.
“Religious leaders should preach love for one another and do whatever they do with the fear of God. President Buhari has given assurances that the elections will be free and fair. But are the security agencies and politicians ready?”
Also, President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. Dr Samson Ayokunle urged politicians to shun desperation. He enjoined the electorate not to vote for persons who have no other means of livelihood besides politics. He called on the police and other security agencies to be fair to all parties.
While urging the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deliver a credible election, he regretted that some people in the northeast would not be able to vote due to the insurgency. “They will be disfranchised. We should provide security for people,” he said.