By Kola Adeyemi
Rev, Father Fem Ogunleye of the Catholic Diocese of Lokoja has called on religious leaders in the country to stop promoting hatred and divisions through their sermons.
He made the charge in Lokoja while speaking on “Religion: A tool for violent free election” at a lecture organized by Interfaith Youth and Peace Building Network of Nigeria, Kogi chapter.
Ogunleye said hatred and divisions along tribal and religious lines had become a major problem in the country, accusing Muslim and Christian clerics of contributing to the problem.
“Being human is what will save Nigeria and not holiness,” the cleric said.
Ogunleye also lamented over increasing involvement of youths in political thuggery and other other violent crimes, saying that the development was a bad omen for the future of Nigeria.
He accused politicians and the elites of deliberately using poverty, poor education, unemployment to divide Nigerians, saying that the youths should henceforth resist.
The cleric charged the youth to put their acts together and chart a new direction for the country with the coming out en mass to vote for candidates of their choice in the coming elections.
Also delivering another lecture, Mallam Tanko Talle, said that Nigerian youths with their education, exposure, population and energy were in a better position to effect positive change in the country.
He admonished them to stop making themselves available for use by unscrupulous politicians , urging them to embrace the way of God and shun cultism, drugs, thuggery and other vices.
According to Talle, youths should be at the vanguard of the “Change begging with me campaign” of the Federal Government, and also embrace peace.
The cleric cautioned politicians to drop the idea of politics of do or die in the interest of the country, saying what Nigeria deserve now are development and growth.
The state Coordinator of the network, Mr Itodo Olachene, expressed the need for all stakeholders to ensure that the coming elections were devoid of violence and malpractices.
He also charged the youths to resist being used as thugs by politicians, urging them to come out to exercise their franchise in the elections.
Olechene urged Muslims and Christians to embrace politics, saying that the tenets of the two religions did not bar adherents from participating in politics.
The Coordinator called for tolerance, mutual understanding and cordial relationships between Christians and Muslims, saying they must also eschew conflict and God. (NAN)