By Bankole Taiwo, Abeokuta
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has warned religious leaders in the country not to allow politicians that have no fear of God to wreck Nigeria. He declared that if such is allowed to happen, the entire country would regret it.
Obasanjo made the disclosure when the new President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence, Most Reverend Daniel T. Okoh paid him a courtesy visit at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Penthouse residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former President requested that Nigeria politicians could be made more responsible by the country’s religious leaders.
Obasanjo who commended the CAN President for his glowing remark on him, said the Sultan of Sokoto had spoken about Okoh to him personally, “and, I must say, I am impressed. With you and Sultan (who is already singing your praises) you can both make a turn-around. You can work together.
“If you stand on the truth, you stand for justice and equity, it is then the politicians will not be able to mess us around and I will say it with all sense of responsibility now, if we do not watch it, the politicians will wreck this country and we’ll all regret it.
“And where can we look for salvation that is where you religious leaders have a significant role to play. I think it’s the mistake of the past (particularly in the Christendom), that we say politics is not for the righteous. Now, if we take the righteous away from politics, and we leave politics to the unrighteous, the unrighteous will smear the righteous with the unrighteousness that they will carry into politics and will have nowhere to go.
“And in the next election, if we do not watch it, it may make or break Nigeria. And I pray that it will make Nigeria,” Obasanjo was quoted to have said.
He further said that for having both Sultan of Sokoto and the CAN leader already on same page, “may be our politicians will listen, and if our politicians don’t listen, may be our people will listen,” Obasanjo said.
The visiting religious leader had earlier commended the former president for his roles in turning around the Christian faith in the country, asserting that he has made valid contributions to Christianity in Nigeria.
According to him, “In 1976, he started with the establishment of this association, the CAN and in September 1999, he formed the Inter Religious Faith Council 1999. On the political sector, you set up the National Political Reform Conference, which I was privileged to be a delegate, representing the Christian faith. These were the few I could remember as I was planning for this visit.
“Baba, you have played important roles in the political history of Nigeria and Africa, particularly your current role in the Horn of Africa, where the task is to ensure peace in the region. These are no doubt, valid contributions to Christianity.”
He said the Council had resolved “not to leave the political space to the politicians, that the religious leaders must get involved, not to be partisan, but, must give leadership to make sure that the values of our religion are brought to the space to help us to live in peace and work for the unity of the nation, including fighting for justice. We are committed to the call baba made.”
The CAN President said he was excited by the visit, “and I can see it, that it is coming from his heart. He has the passion and definitely we are not going to take it for granted,” Okoh said in an interview.
On the president’s entourage was the CAN Assistant General Secretary, Apostle Abiodun Sanyaolu, South West Chairman, His Grace, Elder Adeaga, Lagos and Ogun States CAN Chairmen, Bishop Tunde Akin-Akinsanya (who also represented Bishop Francis Wale Oke) and Bishop S.T Adegbite.
It also included Ven. Emmanuel Alamajo, Ven. Emmanuel Nnana, Ven. Joseph and Personal Assistant Dr. Victor Isoke.