Former presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Senior Pastor of the Citadel Global Community Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare, has called on Nigerians to think of nation-building above religious sentiments in the midst of the controversies generated by the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the APC ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
Bakare who made the assertion on Sunday while interacting with journalists in Lagos, said Nigerians were expending valuable energy in criticising the Muslim-Muslim presidential ticket of the APC candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and former Borno state governor, Kashim Shettima, and should rather channel their energy into contributing to the growth of the country.
The preacher called on Christian leaders in the country to bring all the candidates and their running mates across the political parties in the country to the negotiation table with an open mind to discuss and agree on a way for nation-building and national development.
“We dream of a Nigeria in which every woman as well as every man will be able to aspire to any political office at any time without playing the ethnic card and without recourse to it’s our turn or it’s their turn,” Bakare said.
“We choose to do this because we believe that building the New Nigeria is the calling upon every Nigerian worthy of the name.
“What we need is a New Nigeria that works for every Nigerian, Christian as well as Muslim. Nationhood, rather than divisiveness, must be the objective of every engagement.
“As Christian leaders, we must also realise that the church in Nigeria is today paying for decades of erroneous teaching that posited that Christians have no business in politics. What is happening today is the price we have to pay for the years of failure of the church to strategically participate in the political process,’’ he said.
“Going forward, ahead of 2023, we must learn from our mistakes. Christian leaders must, at this point, bring the candidates and their running mates to the negotiation table with an open mind and based on a clearly articulated charter for nation-building and national development.
“Christian leaders must, at this point, convene a strategic concourse to define the minimum standards across sectors of governance below which no Nigerian, Christian or Muslim, must be subjected.
“This would be a more mature, structured and strategic way to respond to the situation as against the emotional reactions that have dominated the polity since the choice of a running mate was made by the APC presidential candidate.
“For the Christians in Northern Nigeria who feel marginalised by the choice of a Northern Muslim as running mate, the time has come to upgrade the conversation from politics to governance. The time has come to interrogate the impact of politics on development,” he said.