The Jama’atul Nasril Islam, led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa’ad III, has asked the President of the Living Faith World Outreach Ministries, also known as Winners’ Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, to stop heating up the polity with his utterances ahead of the general elections in the country.
The JNI also cautioned Niger Delta ex-militants like the leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, Asari Dokubo, Victor Ben Ebikabowei (Boy Loaf), Government Ekpudomenowei (Tompolo) and other militants in the same manner.
Secretary-General of JNI, Dr Abubakar Aliyu-Khalid, at a press conference in Kaduna on Sunday, said rather than fanning the ember of war, Oyedepo and his likes, should preach peace ahead of the elections, which is less than two weeks away.
Acknowledging that elections, the world over, are usually associated with anxieties, uncertainty and tension, Aliyu-Khalid, stressed the need for Nigerians to refrain from making inflammatory statements that could jeopardize the polls.
According to him, the February 14 presidential election was the most keenly contested in Nigerian history, noting that even at that, there was the absolute need for all Nigerians, regardless of religion or tribe to shun violence before, during and after the elections.
The JNI scribe further urged all the contestants to accept the outcome of the polls, saying in every election, there must be winners and losers.
He, therefore, enjoined the two leading political parties, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, to abide by the Abuja accord.
He said, “While all these situations keep growing by each day that come 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.
“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”.
Aliyu-Khalid called on not only Muslims but the entire citizens of the 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”.
He also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to be committed in ensuring free, fair and credible elections.
He said, “Bearing the burden of the trust of leadership, being conscious of the imperative of truthfulness in salvaging a rather drifting polity, the JNI hereby asserts that the most significant antidotes to violence are free, fair and credible elections on one hand and faithful acceptance of the outcome of elections by all on the other.
“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”.