From Fred Ezeh, Abuja and Paul Orude, Bauchi
Former speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has continued to express his disapproval of the adoption of same faith presidential and vice presidential ticket by the All Progressives Congress (APC) saying it was antithetical to the quest for nation building.
Speaking at the maiden Meet The Church Summit organised by a pressure group, Nigeria National Christian Coalition (NNCC) with the theme; “The role of the Church in Nation Building,” in Abuja, yesterday, he called on Christians to resist the temptation to waste their votes in the 2023 general elections.
“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.”
He commended the church in Nigeria for shaking off the beast of complacency of the past into fire speaking up and resisting measures adopted by some political platforms that would hamper nation building.”
Dogara expressed regret that the APC ignored warnings by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), ECWA church and many other church bodies and adopted the same faith ticket in a manner that negated the fundamentals of nation building.
He said the party’s decision disregarded shared identity, values and vision noting that, “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 endeavour is guaranteed to end in spectacular failure. No divided people have ever built any civilisation.
“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 elite 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.
“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.
Drawing from the parable of the talents in the book of Matthew 25:14-30, Dogara said in one of Jesus’ most significant parables, Christians must “invest everything God gives us, not waste them” and not waste them.
He maintained that in 2023, every Christian must their votes as talents given to them by God to trade with as seeds that must not be wasted.
“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?”
He asserted that a united, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria is possible “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.”
NNCC said the era of Christians being relegated to the lower cadre of socio-economic and political leadership of Nigeria is over, as it has positioned itself to “fight” for the course of Christians in Nigeria.
The Group said it strengthened its systems to represent and negotiate as a Christian pressure group and political base to evolve, secure and present the socio-economic and leadership interests of Christians to the political class in Nigeria.
Convener of the Group, Titilope Oluwadare, explained that NNCC is a project of Nigeria Cry out Peace Initiative designed to support other Christian bodies, including the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in the “fight” for the welfare and interest of Christians in Nigeria.
Oluwadare said the 2023 general elections is a decisive opportunity for Christians to fully participate in electoral processes that would, expectedly, herald the emergence of new set of political leaders in the country.
“This time its not about appointments nor money. It is about dignity and the interests of the Body of Christ. We will no longer be negotiated or cajoled into servitude in Nigeria. We will also not be slaves or second class citizens in a land that God gave us equal partnership, thus NNCC is all about Christian strategic interests.”
The event witnessed the presence and participation of leaders from all faiths, political and economic class, and other relevant stakeholders.