Don’t heat up the polity, Sultan-led JNI tells Bishop Oyedepo

The Jamaatul Nasril Islam, JNI, under the leadership of the Sultan of Sokoto, has warned the Bishop of the Living Faith Assembly, David Oyedepo, and Niger-Delta ex-miltants,Tompolo and Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, to desist from heating up the polity ahead of the February 14 election.

The Islamic body said Mr. Oyedepo and his likes should be preaching peace, not war since election seasons in all democratic societies are usually fraught with anxieties, uncertainties and even tension.

The Secretary General of the JNI, Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, said this at a press conference in Kaduna on Sunday as he noted that the political atmosphere in the country is charged.

“While all these situations keep growing by each day that comes to pass, the political atmosphere increasingly gets charged. With clashes between rival political supporters and thugs occurring at one place or the other, a state of fear of drifting to wide-spread violence as witnessed in 2011 is already setting in. For instance, Bishop Oyedepo of Winners Chapel at Ota, was reported to have made a lot of inciting hate speech recently, Tompolo and Asari Dokubo are not left out, this is just to mention but a few,” Mr. Aliyu said.

He said that it was apparent the elections in the next two weeks would be the most keenly contested in the history of Nigeria.

“The JNI, therefore, finds it necessary to discharge what it believes is an obligation upon itself; that is, to call on all Nigerians to shun violence in any way, in any form and at all phases of the elections and its aftermath,” Mr. Aliyu said.

“It is obvious that these activities and events seem to be so overwhelming, just as the pace at which they occur is as rapid as the passage of time itself. From the PVC distribution exercise and other preparations towards the elections to the political rallies and campaigns at different levels, there always emerged issues and incidents that generated excitements, concerns and even anxieties.

“Against the backdrop of these happenings, the JNI feels obliged to comment at the present time with a view to calling on not only Muslims but the entire citizens of our great country to demonstrate real and genuine sense of patriotism, responsibility, tolerance and commitment to peace and stability in Nigeria, before, during and after the forthcoming elections.”

“As an important stakeholder in the elections, in the governance of the country and indeed because of its firm commitment to the country’s unity, stability and progress, the JNI believes that this call on the citizens for peace is essentially and genuinely both a religious and civic obligation,” Mr. Aliyu said.

The JNI called on the INEC, the presidential candidates and contestants at all levels, as well as the political party leaders and officials, to avoid utterances and actions that will precipitate violence.

The JNI recommended two antidotes to violence including organising free, fair and credible elections and acceptance of the outcome of elections by all.

” In any election, there must be winners and losers, and we would only get it right when the elections are obviously and manifestly seen to be transparent and credible in conduct, and consequently the losers accept defeat in good faith,” Mr. Aliyu said at the press conference.

The JNI also asked candidates at the elections to respect the Abuja Peace accord and guard against all actions or speeches that may trigger violence.

The organisation prayed to Allah to grant Nigeria violencefree elections and God-fearing leaders at all levels.

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