Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, the chairman of the Kaduna State Peace Commission (KAPECOM), has advised religious leaders to see themselves as instruments of unity and not let their personal preferences come in the way of how they interact with the general population.
Bishop Idowu-Fearon was responding to a claim that “the amount of people who vote for APC in 2023 would determine the number of mad people in Nigeria,” which was made by Bishop David Oyedepo, General Overseer of Living Faith Church.
According to Bishop Fearon, it is improper for a religious leader to urge his congregation to support a certain political party because every congregation includes members with a range of political opinions and democracy is all about freedom of choice.
In Kaduna State, he spoke outside of a gathering of political parties, candidates, and stakeholders for peaceful campaigns and elections, where an agreement for peace was signed by 18 registered political parties, 14 candidates for governorship, and candidates for the National Assembly and state House of Assembly.
Hope Action Progress, Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women (LANW), ActionAid, Christian Aid, Global Community Engagement and Resilient Fund (GCERF), SARVE, and Global Peace Development contributed to the organization of the event, which was hosted by KAPRCOM (GPD).
The Anglican Bishop expressed shock at how Nigerian religious leaders now seek to be viewed as in charge, saying that this position is harmful to the nation’s democratic processes.
He said, “Let candidates manifestos and competency speak for them and not their religion or tribe. Nigerians must be allowed to vote their choices regardless of religion and tribe.”
“Religious leaders contribute to the political issues this nation faces. Some of them have the wrong idea—and it causes unnecessary sentiments—of wanting to rule.