2023 Elections May Not Hold If Insecurity Persist – Bishop Onuoha

 

The Co-chairman, Interfaith Dialogue Forum For Peace (IDFP) Bishop Sunday Onuoha has said that the 2023 general elections may not hold if the insecurity challenges bedeviling the country are not tackled. 

 

Speaking to Journalists in Abuja, Bishop Onuoha said without peace, the 2023 general elections may not hold. 

 

According to the Bishop, every Nigerian is asking questions about what is happening in the security architecture, insisting that those in power should use the resources of Nigerians and protect them. 

 

“You hear hundreds of security experts on a daily basis talking about Nigeria’s insecurity but the security problem keeps increasing. 

 

“Security is a national crisis and there is no part of the country that is safe. If the insecurity issue is not tackled, there may not be an election in 2023,” Onuoha said.

 

“We are asking the government and people in position to use the resources available and protect Nigerians,” Onuoha said.  

 

On the election, Onuoha said if the environment is good, INEC must ensure that elections are conducted transparently so that people will see that the country has grown and is the giant of Africa. 

 

“There are rules of engagement. There is always a problem if there is injustice. Let’s be fair to all the parts of the country. Everyone must ensure that there is justice,” Onuoha said, adding that they will engage aspirants vying for different political offices in the country.

 

“We believe that the engagement with aspirants in the country will yield positive results,” Onuoha added. 

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Meanwhile, contrary to insinuations from some quarters, the Interfaith Dialogue Forum For Peace (IDFP) declared on Tuesday that they are not trying to form one religion in the country. 

 

According to the IDFP, their efforts are to bring peace and more understanding between adherents of Christians and Muslims in the country. 

 

Speaking at a press conference convened by Alhaji Kunle Sanni and                                 Bishop Sunday Onuoho, Co-Chairmen of the forum, IDFP said their activities have helped in preventing sectarian and inter-religious conflict. 

 

Reading the text of the conference, Alhaji Kunle Sani said the interfaith dialogue forum is used as a tool for respectful coexistence adding that when people of different religious backgrounds come together, it helps in religious harmony and enables them to confront issues that prevent development. 

 

“The Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDPF) is a faith-based organization, made up of Christian and Muslim religious leaders across Nigeria. 

 

“It believes in the aspiration and in the creation of mutual understanding between the adherents Islam and Christianity. The IDFP is struggling in actualizing intercultural and interreligious dialogues for a mutual harmony in the country. And this has helped in preventing and/or mitigating sectarian and interreligious conflicts. 

 

“And this interreligious cooperation eases and diffuses tensions, and it always makes a difference in safeguarding the lives and property of the citizens. This press conference is hinged on the need to use interfaith dialogue as a tool to remedy the existing challenges of our Nation. 

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“The exercise of learning about other faiths that are different from ours brings about respectful coexistence with those whose faiths, customs, and worldviews are different from ours. 

 

“When people of different faiths come to a mutual understanding, they will respect, live and cooperate with each other in spite of their differences; hence the key to a productive democracy is to encourage interfaith communication.  

 

“This is a reminder of the urgent need for all hands to be on deck to ensure we salvage Nigeria from the myriad of these challenges occasioned by conflicts, insecurity, poverty and divisions confronting us in this country, as we need a secured and stabilized country to make meaningful progress, and to provide a better and safe space for all her citizens. 

 

“Contrary to the wrong notion being held in some quarters, Interfaith dialogue does not aim at changing other people’s religions or faiths, rather, it seeks to find common ground between adherents of religions, by focusing on communities, and, through harmonious and peaceful interactions find solutions to many of our common problems,” the group said adding that Interfaith dialogue has the potential to unlock the power of religious traditions and provide the inspiration, guidance and validation necessary for people to move towards non-violent means of conflict resolution.  

 

“Therefore, we are hopeful that in the spirit of interfaith harmony and peaceful coexistence, we can use dialogue as a way forward to resolve some of the issues that are confronting us as a nation. We affirm as members of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP), that we can play a pivotal role in promoting justice and tolerance in the society. 

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“As faith based network, while we are working towards ensuring that peace prevails in Nigeria, we call on the citizens to ensure that they vote for aspirants on the basis of credibility and competence, so that we can change the tides of the ways politics have been played in the past, and in order to help produce leaders that are people-centered that will help to bring back the glory of the nation.   

 

“We would like to further advocate the culture of transparent and inclusive communication between people from different religions, beliefs and cultures to enhance social cohesion, while calling on the youth to engage in politics without violence. We are committed to ensuring that as faith groups working to foster peace, we encourage more of religious teachings and beliefs as they affect the values, actions, and choices of citizens.  

 

“We will continue to support those that show courage, and are willing, sometimes at great cost to themselves, to stand up for their rights and for the rights of others, most especially for religious and women groups collectively,” the group added. 

 

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