By Idris Khalid
Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has assured christians that they are very safe under his watch if elected President come next month.
Atiku spoke through the former Speaker Rt Hon Yakubu Dogara in Jos while gracing the 2023 extra-ordinary General Church Council of the Evangelical Church Winning All, (ECWA) yesterday, said as he a born unifier, he believes in the integration of humanity at all levels and would do everything to promote unity in diversity.
Atiku said, “God did not make any mistake in creating people and allowing them to belong to different tribal, ethnic and religious backgrounds.
“A divided Nigeria cannot achieve the purpose of God for us as a people. A divided country will only keep us in darkness and disunity. All through my life I have lived and worked harmoniously with people of other faiths and ethnic affiliations with ease because of mutual understanding and respect.”
He said his business and political partners come from different backgrounds with zero expressions of religious or ethnic sentiments, “I have never contemplated the same faith ticket throughout my political career. The Muslim Muslim ticket adopted by some people is a recipe for disaster. It is an indication that not everyone will be carried along in government.
“As Governor – elected Adamawa in 1999, I gave my full backing to Boni Haruna to take over when I was nominated Vice President against all odds. Boni governed Adamawa for 8 interrupted years. In Taraba Rev Jolly Nyame was encouraged to contest the Governorship in 1999 just after losing the local government primary elections. We have and are working together with many Christians across the nation and the Church should have confidence in my capacity, experience and ability to deliver.”
Atiku appreciated Christians all over the nation for their prayers and commitment to the nation and assured that he will not relent in cementing a cordial relationship between Christians and Muslims all the time.
“The church stands to get a lot under my watch as President of this nation if elected. Knowing the significance and importance of unity in peace and development, I will do everything possible to sustain and consolidate it. Any society that is not united will suffer. We have no reason to divide ourselves for whatever reason. A divided Nigeria cannot take us anywhere. If Nigeria is divided, both Christians and Muslims will suffer. Together with Senator Ifeanyi Okowa as Vice President, we will take Nigeria to greater heights.”
He commended ECWA for sustaining the annual extra- ordinary GCC Council meeting where progress and developments are reviewed and new working strategies are adopted. He prayed for wisdom and strength for the ECWA leadership to continue to provide good leadership for the church.
He apologised for the absence of Atiku and Okowa at the occasion saying they were in Ekiti for the nationwide Presidential rally.
In his remarks, the President of ECWA, Rev. Dr. Stephen Baba Panya appreciated Atiku for finding time to give attention to what the church is doing and for sending eminent political leaders to grace the church’s GCC meeting.
He said the church is watching, monitoring, and listening to all the candidates and will take decisions according to its conviction soon.
Speaking for himself, Dogara admonished Christians to take stock of what each Presidential candidate has done for Northern Christians and meditate on it.
Quoting copiously from the Bible, Dogara likened Atiku to the popular centurion servant in the Bible, whose faith was acknowledged by Jesus because of his determination to help across divides.
He said they settled for Atiku following a scientific analysis of the various candidates which was carried openly and which presented Atiku as the leading candidate in the contest.
“Do not waste your votes by casting them elsewhere. We believe very strongly in coming together and living together. The Muslim-Muslim ticket is not an option at all. It does not give room for mutual understanding, unity, peace and stability. Atiku has great respect for northern Christians hence his choice of a Christian to deputise for him. We know him as a good man who has contributed in building the brethren and the church even as a Muslim.
According to Dogara, “This period of gross darkness hovering over the nation must be overcome. We keep surviving one catastrophe and jumping to the other. Darkness is evidence of the absence of light. We must lighten our lights and let them shine.”