By Martha Agas
Jos – Mr Ibrahim Nakande, a former Minister of State for Information, has accused preachers of distorting reigious to achieve selfish interests.
Nakande, who made the allegation while speaking during a town hall meeting in Jos on Friday, said that it was “improper” to use religious messages for political mobilisation.
The town hall meeting, organised by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), had the theme: “Building a people of Peace”
“When preachers use religious messages for political mobilisation, they push their followers into making rash decisions,” he said.
He opined that such manipulation had led to the emergence of the wrong people into leadership positions, which had, in turn, led to the formulation of wrong policies.
The former minister said that good governance was the only remedy to manipulative religious messages, saying that the trend will “die naturally”
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Bulus Dabit, NOA Director in Plateau, had said that religion, ethnicity and democracy should be used to build a people of peace.
“Elected leaders should not use religion, ethnicity to becloud our decisions, breed acrimony among us or even cause chaos in the society,” he counseled.
He said that NOA would remain committed to preaching against religious and ethnic biases in governance, pointing out that democracy was a vehicle for national development and should not be manipulated to serve mean interests.
Prof. Umar Danfulani, in a paper titled: “The Interplay between Religion, Ethnicity and Democracy in Nigeria’s National Life”, called for policies that would spur the citizenry to play key roles in national development
“Nigerians should advocate for an environment where they will enjoy privileges that will spur proper development in the society,” he said.
Danfulani, a professor of History and International Studies, advised governments at all level to invest heavily in education to enthrone an informed citizenry.
“Education remains the key to national development and should be encouraged by all governments so as to breed growth and development,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), reports that the town hall meeting was organised in collaboration with the Plateau Radio Television Corporation.
The event had security agencies, Civil Society Organisations, the media, youth groups, among others, in attendance.