LAGOS – Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Dr. Matthew Kukah, has cautioned Nigerians who have pledged loyalty to certain politicians and political parties not to kill themselves in demonstrating support for such candidates.
Following the lifting of the ban on political campaigns by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on September 28, there has been a rise in intemperate language, intimidation, outright violence, particularly among supporters of leading presidential aspirants, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bola Tinubu of All progressives Congress (APC) and Peter Obi of Labour Party (LP) forcing the National Peace Committee on Monday to call for restrain and respect for the peace accord signed by all candidates.
Kukah, who spoke when he appeared on a television programme, yesterday, said Nigerians should see politicians as friends jostling for their piece of the national cake should not be taken too seriously.
His advice came hours after the presidential candidate of APC, Bola Tinubu and his PDP counterpart, Atiku Abubakar, bantered at the private wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja. He said the message from the banter is that political loyalists of both frontline presidential candidates for the 2023 election should be wise, eschew violence, and not kill themselves for people drinking from the same pool.
“These politicians are struggling and they’ve lived their lives struggling for the national cake which they will distribute amongst themselves. It is, therefore, in the interest of ordinary Nigerians to know that they have to vote to stay alive,” he admonished.
Kukah also stressed that enthusiasts of politicians must understand that these politicians know themselves regardless of their grandstanding and posturing.
“Supporters of candidates all over the country need to be a bit more restrained and wise. We ordinary people must figure out how to manage our passion when it comes to politics. Don’t take seriously the grandstanding of the politicians. All the things you see about them abusing themselves or quarrelling, you will think they will never shake hands. They are very good friends, and many of them drink from the same pool. So, don’t go and kill yourself for nothing. That is what that message is all about,” he said.
Meanwhile, the role of the Church in the advocacy and promotion of peace, equity, justice and development in the democratic transition would be at the centre of discussion at the National Convention of the Knights of Saint Mulumba (KSM) next week in Abuja.
Delegates to the conference would also discuss the Catholic Church in Nigeria and growing challenges of supporting Christians and victims of religious conflicts in turbulent regions of the country.
Metropolitan Grand Knight of Abuja Metropolitan Council, Sir Michael Aule, in statement, yesterday, said the convention would provide opportunity for members to discuss several issues concerning the church and the society in general.
He said over 350 delegates from the Order would attend the event, among them the supreme executive board members, designated metro officers and the grand knights of all the sub-councils in the country.
He said the Papal Nuncio to Nigeria, Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, all Bishops in Abuja Ecclesiastical Province, Bishop Chairman of Laity, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Minister of FCT, Governors of Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau and other states as well as deputy governors of Kogi and Nasarawa states were expected at the ceremony.
John Cardinal Onaiyekan would deliver a paper on the convention’s main theme, while Bishop of Maiduguri Diocese, Most Revd. Oliver Dashe Doeme, and others would make presentations.