From Gyang Bere, Jos
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar and Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Kaigama, have called for free, fair and peaceful elections.
They spoke, yesterday, in Jos during the Plateau Day and Forgiveness Day 2023 convened by Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, at Rwang Pam Township Stadium, Jos.
The Sultan admonished political leaders to work closely and in collaboration with traditional rulers for the enthronement of peace and unity during the polls. He also advised Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love and forgiveness even as he reiterated his commitment to ensuring peace, not only in Plateau and Nigeria, but in the whole world.
“I am a member of the National Peace Committees headed by Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar and we have been doing a lot to talk to politicians to ensure that they carry out their campaigns in a peaceful manner, making sure that they respect one another.
“If we know that it is God that gives power, why do we need to use our youths to burn houses and abusing one another and at the end of it, only one person will be in Aso Rock as President, only one person will be in Government Hous, and only one person will be Local Government Chairman in the respective local government councils in the country.
“The traditional council has every profession that you can think of, from army generals to Customs Controller Generals like the Gbong Gwom Jos, to doctors, engineers, scientists among many others. So if we have all these class of people, why don’t the governors and the political leaders use the council as a platform to reach out to the common man who are parts and parcel of our palaces to discipline and advise them,” he said.
Archbishop Kaigama expressed joy that peace has returned to Plateau State and prayed for the peace to be sustained even as the country heads for the 2023 elections.
“I remember the eminent personalities from different tribes and religion whom we worked together, each time we call for meeting they were all there to make contribution for the peace on the Plateau. I am here to say thank you for all you have done because we can now see and feel the peace in Plateau. I pray that the elections that are coming will be peacefully conducted, let’s not be divided, let’s not destroy properties just because of power.”
Governor Lalong who unveiled the Gazette on the creation of districts and chiefdoms admonished beneficiaries to listen to the complaints of those who are aggrieved. He also unveiled Plateau anthem and the state logo which he said would be the official song after the national anthem in schools, at events and in all radio and TV stations on Plateau people.
“As we commemorate this day, my heart is filled with joy that our efforts have not been in vain because we can confidently say that we have laid solid foundation for peace, justice, equality, tolerance and hospitality.
“With the support of our traditional, religious and community leaders, we have worked hard to substantially reverse the damage to our collective psyche and fractured inter-group coexistence which previously stunted our development and growth.
This is possible through ensuring that justice, fairness and equity prevails irrespective of religious, tribal or other differences. The deep-seated level of mutual distrust, suspicion and hate that once characterized social relations between people of different ethno-religious backgrounds across Plateau State has greatly reduced to the barest minimum.
“This is a result of the hours, days, months and years of work put in by the Plateau Peace Building Agency which we established backed by law, as well as the Inter-Religious Council that was also inaugurated with top leadership of the Christian and Muslim faiths deeply involved,” he said.