The Northern Christian Youth Initiative has condemned the activities of politicians using religion to campaign for 2023 elections.
The group in a statement on Friday signed by its convener Mike Msuaan condemned the campaign championed by the former speaker of the House of Representative Yakubu Dogara and the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal in the wake of the same faith ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
According to the group, such campaign could plunge the country into a religious war.
Msuaan said the duo of Dogara and Babachir were staunch supporters of the candidate of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
He said as a matter of fact, Babachir Lawal authored very damaging write ups against the Vice president of Nigeria, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo; himself a Christian and a presidential aspirant in the APC primary that produced Tinubu.
Babachir Lawal, demeaned his fellow Christian, in support of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is a Muslim.
According to Msuaan, “We did not find Both Hon. Yakubu Dogara and Babachir Lawal canvassing votes for any Christian candidate during the APC primary. We expect the duo who have become accidental defenders of the Christian faith to have stood for either, Prof Osibanjo or Hon. Rotimi Ameachi who were also top presidential contenders during the party primary.
“We except that people who have held such exalted positions like those held by Hon. Dogara and Babachir Lawal in the past would be cautious in sowing seeds of division, be it religious, ethnic or regional.
“Hon. Dogara was not elected as a member of the House of Representative and subsequently the Speaker of the House of Representative on the basis of his faith, neither was Babachir Lawal appointed SGF because of his region.
“A school of thought has it that both Dogara and Babachir nursed intentions of becoming vice presidential candidates to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and worked for his emergence. Their inability to to secure such endorsement is touted as the singular selfish reason they have become very bitter and are moving round sowing seeds of division.”
He said the resort to divisive machinations in the manner Dogara and Babachir have done, after losing out in the consideration for vice presidency is unbecoming of statesmen who have risen to such exalted positions of leadership in the country they intend to destroy now is condemnable.
“Hon. Dogara have won elections in a nearly Muslim dominated constituency. The electorates did not vote for him on the basis of his religious inclination, or consideration, neither where they voting him to represent any religious group at the National Assembly.
“The build up to the 2023 general and the contending interests will no doubt generate tension in the country on its own. Leaders like the former speaker of the house of representative and the SGF who should champion the vanguard for a peaceful, free and credible elections must not embark on voyages to heat up the polity in the name of settling political goals.
“The country is facing economic challenges, security issues such as Kidnappings, banditry, Boko Haram, herders and farmers crisis are issues that we must urgently address as a matter of national emergency. This is the time to look for leaders who have the competence to tackle these problems and unite the country,” the group added.