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Sultan, Archbishop angry over Obasanjo’s ‘do-or-die affair’ statement

Posted by By FRANCIS AWOWOLE-BROWNE, Abuja on 2007/04/11 | Views: 685 |

Sultan, Archbishop angry over Obasanjo’s ‘do-or-die affair’ statement


With three days to the election, the description of the coming elections as "a do or die affair" by president Olusegun Obasanjo drew the fury of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Arch-Bishop Peter Akinola yesterday while leading Muslims and Christians at a national prayer rally in Abuja for a violence- free elections.

With three days to the election, the description of the coming elections as "a do or die affair" by president Olusegun Obasanjo drew the fury of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Arch-Bishop Peter Akinola yesterday while leading Muslims and Christians at a national prayer rally in Abuja for a violence- free elections.

At the Prayer session held under the auspices of the Alliance for Credible Elections (ACE), the Islamic and Christian leaders described the statement as unfortunate and called on Nigerians not to allow themselves to be misled into believing that the elections should be marked by violence as the statement tends to portray.

Indeed, the CAN President said those who view politics as a do or die affair lacked the understanding of leadership. "If you are in politics to serve, you are there to make sacrifice, why then would you say it’s either you win or else the heaven must fall", he argued, pointing out that such a parochial and selfish perception of politics is capable of truncating the transition.

Bishop Mike Okonkwo, Vice-President of CAN who represented the association President at the prayer session in Abuja, which was also attended by the Education Minister, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, warned those harbouring the view that they must win elections at all cost, saying "those who live by the sword will die by the sword, nobody has exclusivity to violence."

Said he: "Nigeria is a great nation bigger than any one of us and so our primary desire must be to see Nigeria remain a peaceful nation. I am therefore calling on all candidates and their supporters to go into election knowing that it is not a do-or-die affair. Everybody cannot win, so we must see it in that light and approach it, knowing that even if you do not win today, you stand a chance to contest again in another four years and the lesson you learnt now will assist you in actualizing your dream at the next election"

The CAN leader who is the head of Lagos-based The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), also had a word for Nigerian youths: "Let no one incite you to take up arms against your brothers or sisters, let us guard the unity of this nation jealously. We have no other nation we call ours".
In his own remark, the Sultan and President-General of the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (SCIAN) said that this time around, the sanctity of votes must be respected if the nation is to have a credible leader to move it forward and have the citizenry liberated from poverty.

Represented by the Emir of Suleija, Alhaji Anwal Ibrahim, the Sultan described as disturbing the spate of violence across the federation during electioneering campaigns by the party candidates as well as general misgivings about the preparations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the elections.
According to him, INEC should be aware that Nigerians are wiser now and are ready to defend their votes.

Alhaji Abubakar said all eyes are on INEC and the security agencies saying their neutrality must not be questionable. "There should be no harassment and intimidation of voters on the election day," he said, adding that all must be allowed to freely choose who they want. He urged security personnel not to constitute themselves into terror.

Lamenting the situation in the land, the Sultan said: "the anxiety in the land has not abated, and it appears to be increasing even as the days draw nearer. We continue to receive reports of violent clashes from different parts of the country. As a people of faith, we have no choice than to turn to God to bestow His mercies on us so that peace may reign in the country in the days leading to the elections, as well as during and after the exercise"

Alhaji Abubakar warned that those who see the election as a desperate matter should realize that violence begets violence and never solves any problem, but aggravates it in all situations.
The religious leaders also prayed for peace to reign in the country during the forthcoming elections.



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Kim Worley(Greeley, Colorado, US)says...

I heard this in a song and had no idea what it meant. Googled it and this came up. Very Cool. ????????????????

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Obinna(Newark Nj)says...

I want to know more meaning and significant of this name obidike in igboland

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Olusola Okhiria Nee Sodunke(Newport, Newport, UK)says...

This is a great piece of history, which is dear to our hearts as people and very much appreciated.

Many thanks to the people who worked hard in the past and those who are still making efforts to keep the institution.

The labour is obviouly worth it. We are proud of you all.

A lot still to be done, with the motivation of the champions of this course, others will follow as well to maintain the institution

May God continue to keep the edifice for development of future generations to the glory of God and the benefits of our fatherland.

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Joel Efiong(Calabar, Nigeria)says...

This is a great piece. The examination bodies should hire you as ICT consultant.

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Sunday Mbe(Kaduna, Kaduna, Nigeria)says...

ULIMASI means' GOD,THANK YOU' not THANK GOD.