by Kayode Awojobi & Olutayo Irantiola
The rising trend in which various religious organizations are conducting debates for political office aspirants made our reporters ask people of their thoughts about this, herein below are excerpt of their responses-
As democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the people, that means, no single body should be exempted in performing their constitutional right by supporting and voting for the candidates of their choice. People make up various religious organizations and everyone has the right to vote and be voted for, so, religious organizations taking part in electoral debates is part of electoral education which is expected to be done.
They should, in my opinion, it is a welcome development in our country. It will reduce the negative effects of ethnicity and religious bias in our nation. We want to hear them speak, debate and tackle salient issues confronting us. It will give us the opportunity to hold them to their words. There are so many blinded people in religious shackles who would never listen to them if it was organized by a normal, secular organization just in the name of religious affiliation and “denominationalism”. On a final note, if they insist they cannot join the “dirty” politics (of this world) which controls the policies everything in our land, they should have the courage to, at least, organize this platform to help the electorates know who the aspirants are
– Ojetunde Praise.
I see nothing bad in such a phenomenon. Religious bodies have the audacity to call their member to the manifesto of his/her stewardship.
The main question to ask is how many religions do we have in Nigeria and are the candidates ready to grant all the religious bodies request for debates?
If the response to the questions raised are negative, the truth is then NO. If they will not grant the request, for instance traditional worshipers, will they should go. To this end, they should not get involved into electoral debate; they can only pray and also perform their civil right on the day of election.
Religious organizations are groups made up of individuals, whose rights may and could also be affected by whoever turns out to be the winner at the polls as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Country. In as much as they can participate in electorate debates, I think their opinions should not be forced on their followers but the facts should be laid bare as it were. Religious bodies like every other civil societies are opinion shapers and ought to be rational and deep thinkers.
-Taiwo Babafemi, Esq
Our media houses have been pillaged by politicians and they’ve added nepotism to their news worthiness. I have no problem getting the public informed about the programmes of the aspirants through the church as far as they remain very objective and non-partisan
– Ademolu Adenuga
In a sane society, there is no problem with any religious organizations getting involved in any activity that concerns the running of affairs of the country, after all, the nature of governance should be everyone’s concern. But in a decadent space like Nigeria filled with depraved politicians, the involvement of any religious organization or individual can be likened to playing with pigs in a muddy water. Everyone will get dirty at the end of the game.
-Lanre Lekan Quadri
The church cannot continue to pretend not to be remotely interested in politics/governance especially as we have religious leaders who are political office holders. Governmental decisions affect the church too, right? So let the church also help us meet these future decision makers.
I don’t see why they shouldn’t. They are first citizens before they are a religious body. As long as they are objective, I believe it is a good call.
And why shouldn’t religious bodies organise such? If religious bodies have blazed the trail in education by establishing and maintaining schools spanning primary to tertiary levels;
proped up healthcare by establishing standard missionary hospitals etc. I see no reason why they shouldn’t be at the vanguard of politics judging by how religious we are as a nation even if it is just skin deep.
-Dr Tolani Balogun