needed to defeat banditry and other forms of criminality that have
posed serious security challenges to the polity.
The Governor who warned against giving ethnic colouration to crimes,
urged Nigerians irrespective of their religious and ethnic backgrounds
to join hands to defeat those he referred to as “evil merchants.”
Dr. Fayemi also advised Christians to play inclusive politics ahead of
the 2023 general elections, urging them to look beyond the religious
profession, ethnic or geopolitical origin of contestants in
determining their suitability for the positions they are aspiring for.
The Governor spoke over the weekend while delivering the convocation
lecture at the graduation ceremony of Good Shepard Major Catholic
Seminary, Kafanchan, Kaduna State. The lecture was titled “The Church,
Politics and Future Elections.”
In attendance at the event were seminarians, the grandaunts as well as
political and religious leaders including the Catholic Bishop of
Sokoto Diocese, Rev Mathew Hassan Kukah among others.
Governor Fayemi charged Christians involved in politics to imbibe the
concept of servant leadership principles to reclaim the idea of public
service as a transformative pursuit of greater goods.
The Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), noted that “leaders
driven by the desire to serve at various levels of governance can turn
the tide of decay and create conditions for more of our people to live
a better life.”
Dr. Fayemi reiterated his call on well-meaning Christians not to shy
away from participating in partisan politics which he described as a
vehicle for nation building and a platform for the realization of the
good of the society.
Lending his voice to divergent views on criminal acts being
perpetrated in some parts of the country, Dr. Fayemi warned against
clothing such acts in ethnic or religious garb. He insisted that
stakeholders must not be blinded by primordial sentiments in reacting
to issues like banditry, kidnapping and killings in the country.
He said: “Today, criminality is interpreted as either religious
genocide or ethnic cleansing. While the media enjoy the serialization
of sensational stories, our collective humanity is being eroded as our
sense of empathy as a people are now determined by the faith or ethnic
background of a victim of criminality.
“The truth is that when bandits kill in the mostly Christian dominated
areas, some of us are very responsive to condemn it and then brand it
a genocidal attack aimed at wiping out the Christian population in
such a place.
“Conversely, when a mostly Muslim dominated population is the victim
of the same crime, mum is sometimes the word. Our experience with
banditry and kidnappings has shown that we need a united humanity to
defeat these evil merchants.
“I would rather a Church that will condemn both, show concern, provide
the same succour, offer the same sympathy and make the same demands on
Dr. Fayemi stressed that the church has important roles to play as the
nation inches towards another cycle of elections in 2023 in mobilizing
the laity, women and youth organizations for effective political
participation that will lead to the choice of quality and God fearing
The Governor said while it would be nice to have a Christian emerge as
the next President, Christians should not be beclouded by religious
sentiments in exercising their franchise in the 2023 polls but should
organize platforms to interrogate candidates seeking their votes to
ascertain their suitability.
He added: “While it is nice to see one of us being the president in
2023, it is important to look beyond the religious profession of the
gladiators or even their ethnic or geopolitical origin. The Church
should develop a charter of concerns which must be as inclusive as
possible and engage the candidates in direct conversations and
“I will want to see the Church and its affiliates and perhaps, in
association with other faiths, organize debates for candidates that
address fundamental issues around freedom of religion, conscience,
association and other areas of interest. The work of the CBCN in this
respect is worthy of commendation, but we must do more.”
The Governor also charged the Church to take part in the electoral
processes as observers and social orientation agents urging it to use
its enormous platform to preach peace, tolerance, and consensus among
the political class.
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