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Leaders After God’s Own Spirit Initiating A New State (LAGOSIANS) a pressure group concerned about ensuring peaceful coexistence in Lagos has tasked politicians on the need to shelve fanning the embers of discord inimical to the state’s survival.
The Convener, Pastor Bolaji Akinyemi, who made this remarks at a news conference on Saturday in Lagos, said it was necessary to douse the ethnic and religious bigotry among politicians and their followers ahead of the gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections holding on March 18th, 2023.
According to him, what is important to the group is not politics but the peaceful co-existence of the people across ethnic and religious divides.
Akinyemi, also Chairman, Board of Trustees, Project Victory Corps (PVC) Initiative and the Convener, Apostolic Roundtable (an independent platform for pastors) urged politicians to stop all drumbeats of war in the name of politics.
“Political decisions should not lead us to war. Going through this election, we have seen dynamics in Lagos being thrown up: the dynamics of tribe like the Igbos want to take over Lagos, the Yoruba must not allow them-and all kinds of narratives.
“I doubt if we are going to have an election on Saturday in Lagos if we do not douse this narrative that is gaining momentum.
“It is important that we bring everybody together and discuss the way forward. We must as leaders adequately carry the people along.
“We cannot have a Lagos where the Igbos cannot stay are Lagos where markets are getting burnt. That is not the kind of Lagos we want to live in.
“We have lived with each other as good neighbours and that must continue. We must not allowed anybody to throw spanner in our wheel of progress that we have made as an examples to the rest of Nigeria,” he said.
He urged the youth not to follow politicians instigating violence, saying that it was about time to create a beautiful route in the state.
Akinyemi said that politicians needed a measure of selflessness, maturity and independence in leadership.
Decrying purported endorsement of some candidates by Christian bodies, Akinyemi said that such was contrary to the culture of what Christian organisation should be.
“We need to come to a point where we as individual Christians can sit with our brothers who are Muslim to discuss how to peacefully live together, without allowing political leadership and church leadership to compromise the peaceful existence of Lagos
“It is the connivance of the political leadership and the church leaders that is pitching us against each other,” he said.
On Lagos politics, Akinyemi, who stated that Lagos would be better as an opposition state, called for unity among opposition parties, especially the two contending forces of the PDP and Labour Party (LP).
He said that the group had agreed that the state needed an independent governor not tied to the apron of any godfather, in order to realise every resident’s dream.
Akinyemi said that if the party leaders failed in bringing the governorship candidates of PDP and LP together, the group might have to necessarily stepped in after due consultation.
“Where we are now is a crossroad and it is important that we reason together with all groups that believe in what we are doing on the path to a greater Lagos,” he said.
According to him, no group should speak for its people until due consultation had been carried out.
“We are going to do that consultation and take open decision in the interest of peace and prosperity of Lagos state.
“Our priority is peace because there can never be prosperity if their is no peace. We have the will and we can corporately and jointly find the way.
In his remarks, Pastor Femi Ferguson, the President of Pentecostal Family Fellowship Network cautioned against any act capable of igniting tribal violence.
Ferguson urged politicians to consider the consequences of instigating people against themselves.
“I don’t why politicians are sowing seeds of discord among the people of Nigeria because of elections and money. Let the politicians stop this.
“I don’t know how people will be going up and down instigating people against their fellow human beings. We should be talking humanity
“What we are asking for is for the righteous man to emerge. When the righteous is on the throne, the people will rejoice. We know the righteous by their antecedents.
“We don’t want any bloodshed again in this country, we have had enough. We love ourselves.
“We want a new Nigeria, we want a new Lagos. Lagos is our California and nobody can take it away from Yoruba and the Aworis,” Ferguson, a former Director, Planning and Strategy and the former Publicity Secretary of PFN in Lagos State, said.
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