The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, has expressed worry that Nigerians have become more worrisomely divided because of political differences.
He noted that Nigeria has these troubles in 2019 and went to express fears over 2023, adding that the signs are already on ground.
“Brothers no longer talk to each other. Friends are now divided in a very terrible way because they have been insulting one another before the elections. Neighbours now hate one another because they belong to different political parties,” he added.
He stated during the 2019 General Assembly of the Da’awah Coordination Council of Nigeria (DCCN) held at the Sultan Palace, Sokoto.
The Sultan noted that the 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 contest was between two Muslims who were the candidates of the two major political parties, APC and PDP, some respected Muslim and Christian clerics turned their worship places to avenue of campaign for either of the two candidates.
He stressed: “We that 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 election over the years and have never declared support for any candidate. As a religious leader, I have never asked Imams or Muslims preachers to preach against anybody or in support of any as well,” he asserted
“Prior to 2019 you have heard and seen Muslims and Christians leaders preaching things that you find difficult to respond to.”
He urged: “We should ask ourselves why have things changed that way? Is it because of the greed of our religious leaders who collect monies to preach their support for a particular candidate? Let’s try to discourage that, because religion preaches love for all.”
The Sultan, however, said “2019 election has come and gone. Although there are court issues here and there, but let us begin to plan ahead of 2023 on how to ensure that we have leaders that are our choice and not those that are forced on people.”
He enjoined: “So let’s begin to plan on how to ensure peace and peaceful coexistence before, during and after the general elections.”
Professor Salihu Mikalilu who delivered a lecture at the occasion noted: “Nigeria is a multi-religious society and we 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.”