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Treat Your Votes In 2023 Election As Seeds, Don’t Waste Them On APC’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket, Former Speaker Advise Nigerian Christians

  • Accuses Tinubu of “convoluted posturing” by placing “State-building ahead of nation building”

Christians in Nigeria have been called upon to resist the temptation to waste their votes in the 2023 general elections by voting for the All Progressive Congress (APC) Muslim-Muslim Presidential ticket of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Alhaji Kashim Shettima. 

The immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who made the call, spoke on Tuesday in Abuja at a summit tagged “Meet the Church” organised by the Nigerian National Christians Coalition (NNCC) with the theme “The role of the Church in Nation Building.”

He maintained that in 2023, every Christian must treat their votes as talents given to them by God to trade with as seeds that must not be wasted.

Dogara said the adoption of same faith Presidential and Vice Presidential ticket by the ruling APC is antithetical to Nigeria’s quest for nation building.

Arguing that the APC ignored warnings by Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Catholic Secretariat, ECWA and many other church bodies by adopted the same faith ticket, the former Speaker said the choice negates the fundamentals of nation building such as shared identity, values and vision.

According to him, “Every Christian knows that our God does not tolerate waste. It is unchristian for the church to waste anything given to us from above as we own nothing except what is giving to us from above.

“The APC adopted a same faith ticket in a country that has never attained nationhood. These warnings were not only ignored but dismissed in one fell swoop by the APC presidential candidate who strangely believes that he can build a strong, secure and viable nation-state without first forging a shared identity, vision and values for our people, thereby enabling us transit from citizens of a country into a nation of people with strong shared identity and values.

“In their convoluted posturing, they have placed state-building ahead of nation building; a task never before achieved in history and we need no seer to tell us that such endeavor is guaranteed to end in spectacular failure. No divided people have ever built any civilization.

“To demonstrate that the church is right, it is not alone in condemning the same faith ticket. Other prominent Islamic clerics and Muslim leaders have also spoken in the same light. It is a good omen that both Christian and Muslim elites are not complacent over this matter.

“To this end, it will be easy to generate the needed elite consensus that is key to nation building. All nations are built by elite consensus while all countries that failed at nation building were destroyed by elite complacency.”

Dogara added: “Granted that the Christians and Muslims will always disagree on some issues, there are however, many things over which we are agreeable. It is enough to forge ahead with the task of nation building based on those common issues we agree on. It must be noted that just as Muslims alone cannot built a nation out of Nigeria so also Christians alone cannot. We have to work together on ‘nation formations.'”

He however commended the Church in today’s Nigeria for “shaking off the beast of complacency of the past into fire by speaking up and resisting measures adopted by some political platforms that will hamper nation building.”

Dogara stressed also that it is a sin for Christians to waste their votes in 2023 drawing from the parable of the talents in the book of Matthew 25:14-30 saying that in one of Jesus’ most significant parables, Christians must “invest everything God gives us, not waste them” and not waste them.

Yakubu Dogara said that, “We do not even have the liberty to preserve our vote just like the wicked and lazy servant did to his talent, we must cast the vote in a fertile ground i.e, the platform we know can win the election and nothing less or else. After all, is it in vain that it is said that Waste is worse than loss?”

“If we go to work. We can start building that Nigeria of our dreams if we don’t waste our votes in the next election circle.”

“As stated earlier, nation building is a complicated subject and as such we do not have the time and luxury to interrogate the subject in detail. But the point has repeatedly been made that Nigeria is the “greatest Islam-Christian nation on earth. As a result, it is difficult if not impossible to find any other nation that aggregates so many Muslims and so many Christians within its borders.

“Some of us live in communities comprising of persons of different faiths. We equally have Muslim friends and confidants whom we can genuinely call brothers. Regardless of the tension that religion generates, resulting in occasional clashes and mayhem, we cannot deny the fact that there is an exceptional level of brotherhood and solidarity across people of all faiths in Nigeria.

“Unfortunately, Nigeria’s history is marked by disturbing anecdotes of series of ethno-religious violence that have profoundly stymied nation building. The point must be made that Nigeria cannot survive half addicted to rage and the other half addicted to delirium.

“That underpins why the Church must not abdicate its divine responsibility to achieve a better and more fully integrated life for our citizens across religious boundaries. For progress to be made, the church must fight for justice for the Christian, for the Muslim, for persons of other faiths and even for those who choose not to believe at all”, he enthused. 

“As Christians, we don’t have to overemphasize the indivisibility of justice because what is justice for the Christian is justice for the Muslim and persons of other faiths. To my mind, prayer is the key because prayer is the only way we can get God to intervene in our affairs. The conditions to secure healing for our country is well laid out in the Constitution of our kingdom.

“In 2 Chronicles 7:13 &14 – when our nation is pushed to a precipice, God expects us, His ambassadors who are called by His name to humble ourselves and pray, seek his face and turn from our wicked ways. Then, He will hear from heaven, forgive our sins and heal our land.”

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