Third Republic Senate President, Sen. Ameh Ebute, has cautioned the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to forthwith depart the political arena for the main gladiators.
The country’s Christian leaders recently delved into partisan politics, abandoning their primary assignment of soul-winning.
After pressure from all and sundry, the religious group sluggishly congratulated President Muhammadu Buhari, having previously taking side with the opposition.
Senator Ebute, however, advised CAN to de-robe itself from the garments of partisanship or political parties.
He gave this charge at the opening forum of a two-day international conference on politics, religion and ethnicity in Nigeria organized by the National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP).
Senator Ebute was also very critical of Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Prof. Ango Abdullahi, urging him to desist from reducing Nigeria or the geographical North to an ethnic or religious fiefdom.
“ Why do we draw the swords against ourselves for political, ethnic or religious reasons? Where and when did we abandon our cherished traditional norms of hospitality and brotherhood? Why the so much hate and animosities between brothers/sisters and among communities, over such molten factors, which ought to unite, rather than divide us?,” he queried.
“ I regret to say, we have deviated so extraneously from the solid foundations our founding fathers and world-recognized nationalists laid for the future of this great nation, Nigeria.
“ These great Nigerians did great things for Nigeria. Nobody actually heard about their religion, ethnicity or region in the country to the level of interfering with the delicate cords, which bind Nigeria together as one strong and indivisible entity in the resoluteness of unity.
“ In post- independence Nigeria, the Zik of Africa as he was popularly called told us that ‘Each of our three regions is vastly different in many respects, but each has this in common: that, despite variety of languages and custom or difference in climate, all forms part of one country which has existed as a political and social entity for fifty years. That is why we believe that the political union of Nigeria is destined to be perpetual and indestructible.’
“ We must also ponder on the wisdom of Sir Ahmadu Bello on unity and peace of Nigeria. He canvassed a proper understanding of ourselves for the unity of Nigeria in his reply to Zik of Africa thus; ‘… let us understand our differences. I am a Muslim and a Northerner. You are a Christian, an Easterner. By understanding our differences, we can build unity in our country.’
“ And the legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo reminded us that; ‘Violence never settles anything right: apart from injuring your own soul, it injures the best cause. It lingers on long after the object of hate has disappeared from the scene to plague the lives of those who have employed it against their foes.’
“ This generation of Nigerians today are obliged to listen and reflect on these great wisdom the founding fathers as constant reminders to us about the desirability of peace. I shall indulge in futile deception, if I tell you these men never had disagreements or bruised one another in the course of their sojourn for Nigeria. They had aplenty!
“ But they considered the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians greater and paramount than personal feuds and never spilled blood over disputes. It’s a lesson for us to go back to our homes and reflect. It is the reason I am glad to be part of this momentous ceremony, which is time and essences is very useful to Nigeria.
“If you permit me, I will appeal to this congregation to take the message out loudly and indeed, to all Nigerians to follow your footsteps. I am excited at the fact that you have found in President Buhari a reincarnation of the souls and spirits of our founding fathers.
“ Whatever Nigeria’s forbearers’ wished for our nation, Nigeria, is embodied by President Buhari. He is now the trusted anchorman because we have seen in him the traits of a genuine leader, who does not only regret our shameful departure from the standpoint of this nation, but is also prepared to lead the path for our glorious recovery.
“ President Buhari is a rare leader, gifted to us at this of our political or existence history. And we are elected to rally around him to reclaim Nigeria from all the destructive forces of darkness.
“ May l also seize, this opportunity to appeal to some Northern leaders like Chairman of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) Prof. Ango Abdullahi to desist from reducing Nigeria or the geographical North to an ethnic or religious fiefdom in the larger equation of Nigeria.
“ Our dear country is home to all Nigerians. It’s pointless talking tough always on our ethnic or religious fault lines, instead of striving to reunify ourselves and a traumatized nation.
“ Similarly, I caution all religious leaders in Nigeria, especially those of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), my primary constituency, as a Christian, to de-robe themselves from the garments of partisanship or political parties. There is no need to heat the polity with inflammable comments at his delicate period of our history.
“ Religious leaders must necessarily leave politics for politicians, if we want this nation to progress in peace and unity. All of you must agree with me that our people have been wrongly indoctrinated to believe religion is something so sensitive enough to spark violence and killings.”