Lagos, – Leaders After God’s Own Spirit Initiative A New State (LAGOSIANS), a pressure group, says political decisions in the forthcoming Governorship and House of Assembly elections should not lead to war in Lagos State.
The Convener, Pastor Bolaji Akinyemi, who made this remark at a news conference on Saturday in Lagos, said it was necessary to douse the ethnic and religious bigotry among politicians and their followers ahead of the elections.
According to him, what is important to the group is not politics but the peaceful co-existence of the people across ethnic and religious divides.
Akinyemi, also Chairman, Board of Trustees, Project Victory Corps (PVC) Initiative and Convener, Apostolic Roundtable (an independent platform for pastors), urged politicians to stop all drumbeats of war in the name of politics.
“Political decisions should not lead us to war. Going through this election, we have seen dynamics in Lagos being thrown up: the dynamics of tribe like the Igbos want to take over Lagos, the Yoruba must not allow them, and all kinds of narratives.
“I doubt if we are going to have an election on Saturday in Lagos if we do not douse this narrative that is gaining momentum.
“It is important that we bring everybody together and discuss the way forward. We must as leaders adequately carry the people along.
“We cannot have a Lagos where the Igbos cannot stay in Lagos, where markets are getting burnt. That is not the kind of Lagos we want to live in.
“We have lived with each other as good neighbours and that must continue. We must not allow anybody to throw spanner in our wheel of progress that we have made as an example to the rest of Nigeria,” he said.
He urged the youth not to follow politicians instigating violence, saying that it was about time to create a beautiful atmosphere in the state.
Akinyemi said that politicians needed a measure of selflessness, maturity and independence in leadership.
Decrying purported endorsement of some candidates by Christian bodies, Akinyemi said that such was contrary to the culture of what Christian organisations should be.
“We need to come to a point where we as individual Christians can sit with our brothers who are Muslims to discuss how to peacefully live together without allowing political leadership and church leadership to compromise the peaceful existence of Lagos
“It is the connivance of the political leadership and the church leaders that is pitching us against each other,” he said.
On Lagos politics, Akinyemi said that the group had agreed that the state needed an independent governor not tied to the apron of any godfather in order to realise every resident’s dream.
In his remarks, Pastor Femi Ferguson, the President of Pentecostal Family Fellowship Network, cautioned against any act capable of igniting tribal violence.
Ferguson urged politicians to consider the consequences of instigating people against themselves.
“I don’t know why politicians are sowing seeds of discord among the people of Nigeria because of elections and money. Let the politicians stop this.
“I don’t know how people will be going up and down instigating people against their fellow human beings. We should be talking humanity.
“What we are asking for is for the righteous man to emerge. When the righteous is on the throne, the people will rejoice. We know the righteous by their antecedents.
“We don’t want any bloodshed again in this country, we have had enough. We love ourselves.
“We want a new Nigeria, we want a new Lagos. Lagos is our California and nobody can take it away from Yoruba and the Aworis,” said Ferguson, a former Publicity Secretary of PFN in Lagos State. (NAN) (