Dr Idiat Adebule, the Lagos State Deputy Governor, has warned residents to avoid hate speeches and any conducts that could lead to violence during the forthcoming general elections.
Adebule gave the warning during an annual “Prayer for the Nation” organised by the Fatima Charity Foundation (FCF) at Muson Centre, Onikan.
According to her, the regulations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) are enough to make the process peaceful only if Nigerians abide by them.
She commended the foundation for introducing interdenominational groups into the annual programme.
“Bringing Christians and Muslims together under one roof will promote peace and understanding.
“We are trying to create a harmonious relationship between religious groups by promoting the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) at state and local government levels.
“If only we can keep to things that bind us together and refrain from those that divide us, it will be good for our nation,” she said.
President of the foundation, Chief Bintu-Fatima Tinubu, said the annual event was conceived to seek God’s help, guidance and protection against many challenges facing the nation.
“Your presence at this event underscores your desire to see a greater and better Nigeria we all clamoured for.
“In retrospect, good leadership and good governance form an integral part of every great nation.
“Nevertheless, our common philosophy is to see Nigeria develop, prosper and re-affirm itself as the pride and giant of Africa,” she said.
The theme “Democracy For Whose Benefit”, she said, was a significant topic to ponder on and germane at a time like this when the country is on the march again to the ballot.
Tinubu, who is the Iyalode of Lagos said: the politics must not be a do or die affair.
“We must all be conscious of the word of God in the Holy Quran which says Allah is the owner of sovereignty.
He gives sovereignty to whom He will and withdraw sovereignty from whom He will; He exalts whom He will and He abases whom He will. In His Hand is all good, He is able to do all things.
“We must bear in mind that in any contest, there are winners and losers and always opportunities to give it another try.
“Therefore the collective goal should be to deliver a sustainable democracy that has the people and the country as its focal point.
“This platform seeks to demonstrate that peaceful co-existence is the hallmark despite our faith, race, religion, social status or political affiliations.
“It is my earnest expectation as we exercise our civic responsibilities at this forthcoming election, that we tolerate one another, shun violence and enable free and credible polls.
“ We must see ourselves as Nigerians, striving towards a common goal, in promoting the peace, progress, prosperity and unity of our Nation,” Tinubu said.
The Deputy President-General of Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) Alhaji Sakariyahu Babalola, who chaired the occasion, said there was no substitute for peace.
Represented by the Managing Director, Istabaraqim Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Rafiu Ebiti, Alhaji Babalola urged Nigerians, politicians in particular not to take peace for granted.
According to him, Allah gives power to whom He will.
“Our politicians must learn that somebody will win, somebody will lose.
“If you miss something you strive for, it is a good thing for you,” he said.
The guest speakers, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, who is the General Overseer and Pastor of the Trinity Church and Sheikh AbdurRahman Ahmad, Chief Missioner of Ansar-Ud-Deen Society of Nigeria (Worldwide) called on Nigerians to hold their leaders accountable.
Pastor Ighodalo lamented that Nigerians have not enjoyed dividends of democracy in the last 20 years.
He urged the electorate to ensure right people are elected into offices.
He described cross carpeting among politicians, ideological differences, bias media, poor management of resources, fraudulent election, and change of policies among others as the bane of the democratic system in the country.
Sheikh Ahmad also lamented that the electorate doesn’t have a say in people throwing up by political parties to vie for offices.
“And unfortunately, our votes do not count. We can to a large extent predict who will win the election in Lagos State today,” he said.
Democracy, he said, should achieve five things namely security of lives and property, prosperity, equality, justice and liberty, all of which, he said “are eluding Nigerians”.
By our correspondent