As deadline for official commencement of campaigns for 2019 elections draws near, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, called on politicians to refrain from negative use of religion and ethnicity during the process.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has fixed November 18 for official commencement of campaigns towards 2019 general elections.
Buhari said: “Very soon, political campaigns will commence leading to elections in February next year. It is my hope and prayer that we will perform better at polling stations and see to a peaceful completion of the entire process without resorting to negative use of religion and ethnicity.”
The President spoke at the interfaith conference on religious harmony in Nigeria: ‘Towards the 2019 general elections,’ organised by Interfaith Initiative For Peace (IIP) in Abuja.
Noting that primary elections were over, the President urged all that feel aggrieved to put the nation’s stability first before their political ambitions, and accept their parties’ decision, or seek resolution through party reconciliation mechanisms or the law courts.
He said: “Having witnessed the roles our religious leaders have played so far, I urge them to eschew partisan politics and appeal to their respective members to read each political party’s manifestos, 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 account to God, The Almighty.”