Tuesday, October 29, 2019 11:19 pm
Religious leaders in Kogi have advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and the state government to create an enabling environment for the peaceful conduct of the governorship election holding on Nov. 16.
The religious leaders gave the advice in Lokoja on Tuesday during a seminar organised by the state chapters of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the Jamatul Nasril Islam (JNI) for their members on the forthcoming election.
The theme of the seminar was: “The Fear of God as Panacea To A Peaceful and Transparent Election’’.
The religious leaders called on INEC, police and the state government to let the fear of God guide their actions before and after the election.
The state CAN Chairman, Bishop John Ibenu, in his paper, described the fear of God as the most important to mankind, as without it, one cannot please God and be upright.
He attributed many problems bedevilling the country today to sins against God and humanity, calling on politicians, INEC, security agencies, especially police to toe the line of righteousness.
The Bishop advised individuals connected to the election to make a choice between using the opportunity and their positions to serve God and humanity on the day of the election.
“You are free to make a choice but you cannot be free from running away from the consequences of your choice.
“If you say you fear God, then depart from, stay away from, run away from, refuse to be pushed or induced to do evil. This is the fear of God.
“If you fear man more than God, you will not be able to fear God, who can kill the flesh and the spirit,’’ he said.
Also delivering a paper on the same topic, an Islamic Scholar, Alhaji Isman Taidi, called on the INEC to conduct a free, fair and acceptable election that would meet people’s expectations.
He also called on security agencies, especially, the police to put their acts together and conduct themselves in the best interest of the members of the public by providing adequate security throughout the process.
The state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Prof. James Apam, explained that delivering a transparent, fair and credible election was a shared responsibility of all stakeholders.
He said that the commission had put in place adequate arrangements to ensure a credible and peaceful election but insisted that the outcome of these efforts would depend largely on the people.
Apam said that elections in the state had always been marred by violence, saying that this was a source of concern to development partners who had committed a lot of resources to the coming elections.
He called on parents to prevail on their children not to make themselves available for use by politicians, saying that they should resist any attempt to use them to disrupt the election.
The commissioner also called on the religious leaders, media and the civil society organisations to intensify campaign against vote buying and education of voters before the election day.
In his speech, the Senior Special Assistant to the State Governor on Security, Mr Ibrahim Tairu, blamed election violence on collapse of moral values.
He said that parenting was at its lowest ebb in the country today, urging parents to give their children religious and moral education to curb the menace.