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President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Dr. Olasupo Ayokunle, has cautioned politicians and political leaders to temper desperation in winning the forthcoming polls.

CAN Logo

Ayokunle, represented  by Pastor Ladi Thompson, spoke at the 2nd General Assembly of the Interfaith Dialogue Forum for Peace (IDFP), with the theme, “2019 general elections and national security: The role of interfaith communities”.

Vanguard reports that as the CAN president prayed for transformational leaders for Nigeria, and warned security agencies not to become a threat to the elections by doing the bidding of politicians to the detriment of national interest.

Ayokunle, who advised the youths not to allow themselves be used as thugs, said: “In fact, you should not be desperate at all in this forthcoming elections. For me, leadership is a burden. If you want to serve your people, know that on the other hand you are in for trouble because you have made yourself open to criticisms by the people.

“They will attack you left, right and centre. Leadership will take away sleep from your eyes, it will make you to work extra time if you want to serve your people. But if you are going into an election and God said it is not time yet and the people say maybe we should choose you later, why should you intimidate people?

“Why should you intimidate the people who have asked you to go and rest? Is rest not good for you? Why should you say you must be there at all cost? When you want to be there at all cost, I suspect you. I know you are not coming to help us. You are coming to kill us and the Lord will deliver us from you.

“So desperation should be taken out of it completely. In advanced countries, politics is not taken as a full time job. The president of America is a successful business man. He can serve the nation without taking out one Kobo because there is no money he has not seen before that he will now see while in government.

“So we the electorates should be careful. People that don’t have any other job apart from politics shouldn’t be voted. And when you see them carry huge sum money about   to persuade you to follow them,   please run away from them because when they win they will first of all recover what they have expended. And what are they recovering? they are recovering what they spent on you.

“I want to urge those in government and politicians generally to please calm down so that there will be no breakdown of law and order. We need our peace. We don’t want you to set our nation on fire.

“Election is for a better society.  It is not for the destruction of the nation. Therefore, don’t let your ambition be greater than the existence of the nation and the wellbeing of Nigerians.”

Present at the peace symposium was the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Abubakar III, who warned politicians on the dangers of using poor children to perpetrate violence in their desperation for power.

Cross-section of participants at the Peace Symposium

The Sultan, who appealed for calm during the forthcoming election, urged politicians not to forget that God gives and takes power when he chooses.

While expressing happiness with the assurances made by President Muhammadu Buhari that the polls would be free and transparent, he asked: “The most important thing is: are the politicians ready?”

He said:  “Let us reason for a while and ask which children they use for perpetuating these crises. They don’t use their children and not rich men’s children but the children of the poor who are nobody.

“In most instances, these children are killed and their bodies are nowhere to be found. And when they (politicians) succeed in using these children and they get to their offices, you never see them again. So, we must never be allowed to be used.”

He charged clergies to always preach peace to their congregation.

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