President Muhammadu Buhari has declared that the era of money politics, lack of transparency and accountability in the country is over and has urged religious and traditional leaders to guide their subjects into voting wisely.
Speaking at a conference organised by the Interfaith Initiative for Peace, in Abuja on Saturday, he hoped that there would be continuity to move the country closer to the goals.
He said: “I am proud to say that our country has moved on, the era of free money, lack of transparency and accountability is over! We deserve continuity; we deserve a better future for the coming generations. I sincerely hope 2019 will move us closer to these goals and so I look forward to a peaceful, fair and credible elections come 2019.”
While recalling that the same conference had been held prior to the 2015 election, the president observed that political parties’ primaries were over with a plea for those who lost out to bury their personal interests for the sake of national interests.
He said: “Our Primary Elections are over, it is my hope that all who feel aggrieved would put the stability of our country first before their political ambitions and accept the decision of their political parties or seek resolution through party reconciliation mechanisms or the law courts.
“Very soon, political campaigns will commence leading to Elections in February next year. It is my hope and prayer that we will even perform better at the polling stations and see to a peaceful completion of the entire process without resorting to the negative use of religion and ethnicity.
“Having witnessed the roles our religious leaders have been playing so far, I appeal to them to eschew partisan politics and appeal to their respective members to read the manifestos of each political party, discuss and pray for God’s guidance before casting their votes. Religious leaders should not be seen to involve themselves in partisan politics or political controversies. Otherwise, they risk losing their status and public respect.
“On their part, traditional rulers are also requested to enlighten their subjects, encourage them to ask questions and seek clarifications before going out to vote. As your President, I will request that you encourage your subjects to come out and exercise their voting rights as responsible citizens. To all of us politicians, I ask that we discharge our political responsibilities with integrity, bearing in mind that we will one day give an account to God, the Almighty.”
The president thanked His Eminence Alh Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto and His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, the Co-Initiators of the group of Nigerians who he observed, loved their country and have continued to work for peace and peaceful coexistence as faithful Muslims and Christians.
He also expressed his personal appreciation to the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, “who in spite of his busy schedule has accepted to be the keynote speaker at this important conference.”
“We thank you for your love for Nigeria and her people and appreciate all your efforts in informing Britain and other nations about the true state of affairs in Nigeria,” he said.
He implored the head of the Anglican Church to continue to pray for the country’s unity, peace and progress.