Ameh Ebute, a third republic senator, has charged the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, to leave politics for politicians.
He explained that Nigeria would experience peace when CAN and other religious organisations leave the political space for politicians.
The former Senate President gave the call at the opening forum of a two-day international conference on politics, religion and ethnicity in Nigeria organized by the National Inter-Faith and Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) in Abuja.
According to him: “Why do we draw the swords against ourselves for political, ethnic or religious reasons? Where and when did we abandon our cherished traditional norms of hospitality and brotherhood? Why the so much hate and animosities between brothers/sisters and among communities, over such molten factors, which ought to unite, rather than divide us?
“I regret to say, we have deviated so extraneously from the solid foundations our founding fathers and world-recognized nationalists laid for the future of this great nation, Nigeria.
“These great Nigerians did great things for Nigeria. Nobody actually heard about their religion, ethnicity or region in the country to the level of interfering with the delicate cords, which bind Nigeria together as one strong and indivisible entity in the resoluteness of unity.
“In post-independence Nigeria, the Zik of Africa as he was popularly called told us that ‘Each of our three regions is vastly different in many respects, but each has this in common: that, despite variety of languages and custom or difference in climate, all forms part of one country which has existed as a political and social entity for fifty years. That is why we believe that the political union of Nigeria is destined to be perpetual and indestructible.’
“We must also ponder on the wisdom of Sir Ahmadu Bello on unity and peace of Nigeria. He canvassed a proper understanding of ourselves for the unity of Nigeria in his reply to Zik of Africa thus; ‘… let us understand our differences. I am a Muslim and a Northerner. You are a Christian, an Easterner. By understanding our differences, we can build unity in our country.’
“And the legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo reminded us that; ‘Violence never settles anything right: apart from injuring your own soul, it injures the best cause. It lingers on long after the object of hate has disappeared from the scene to plague the lives of those who have employed it against their foes.’
“Similarly, I caution all religious leaders in Nigeria, especially those of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), my primary constituency, as a Christian, to de-robe themselves from the garments of partisanship or political parties. There is no need to heat the polity with inflammable comments at his delicate period of our history.
“Religious leaders must necessarily leave politics for politicians, if we want this nation to progress in peace and unity. All of you must agree with me that our people have been wrongly indoctrinated to believe religion is something so sensitive enough to spark violence and killings.”