A group of protestant bishops have rejected the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the 2023 general election, describing it as “an arrogant gamble with national peace and unity.”
The six protestant bishops, who were drawn from different Pentecost churches, regretted that some Nigerian leaders have become blinded by their selfish craving for power and are taking for granted the tolerance of Christians and their desire for peace.
Speaking to newsmen in separate interviews, soon after their investiture and decoration with their vestment of authority in Gwagwalada, Abuja last weekend, the bishops urged the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to reconsider his position on the matter in the interest of peace and the unity of the country.
Bishop Onne James Olatunji and Bishop Oluwa Tobi of Cherubim and Seraphim Immaculate Gospel Mission, Kogi state advised Tinubu to reconsider his decision now before the window to reverse the plan closes stressing that any politician who takes the strength of Christians for granted will be playing with fire.
The bishops urged religious leaders to stand firm on their faith in the service of God by ensuring that their followers are properly guided in truth and obedience to God’s will.
“Christians and Muslims have been living together in peace for a long time in this country but politicians are now trying to put a wedge on the path of the harmony established by the two religions and this will bring conflict which will not be easy to contain,” the bishops lamented.
Bishop Oyetunde Olaniyi, who is the General Overseer of Go and Preach to All Mankind, Oyo State described the Muslim-Muslim ticket as a big mistake stressing that Nigerians are now more religiously sensitive and nobody should be allowed to bring division or religious disharmony into the country.
“This is a very sensitive issue and politicians must be careful not to plunge the nation into a religious war. The body language of people in power today shows they want to Islamise Nigeria for whatever reason. We should all be concerned about this plan and resist it before it takes place. We have the right to be afraid and we have the right to complain or protest on the issue,” he declared.
Cardinal Michael Babalola Olarenwaju of the Tabernacle of Peace Ministry, Ibadan on his part urged Nigerians to show with their votes that they object to anything that will divide the country by voting into office only politicians who are not religious extremists and those with good programmes for the development of the nation.
“The APC Muslim-Muslim ticket is not correct. It is not acceptable to us Christians and we have rejected it just as we believe that the Almighty God will intervene in the matter,” he said.
He described the investiture as an elevation of clergymen to higher ranks with greater responsibility to promote the church and the body of Christ while also urging the beneficiaries to go into the world and convert sinners.
Cardinal Olarenwaju of the Tabernacle of Peace Ministry, conveners of the programme, disclosed that arrangements were at the final stages to establish a university for the training of bishops and other clergymen in Abuja, the federal capital.
A former Judge of the Federal Capital Territory, retired Justice Nwada Balami, who was also honoured with the rank of bishop, spoke on behalf of the clergymen and he urged Christian leaders to be steadfast in their service of the church and humanity.
Arch-Bishop Timothy Ayobami Adekunle, who presided over the occasion, on behalf of the Nigerian Arch-bishops and Bishops Association described the investiture as timely stating that the recipients deserved the honour going by their individual contributions to the growth of Christianity.