Ahead of the 2023 elections, plans for a meeting between presidential candidates of various political parties and Christian leaders under the aegis of the Nigerian National Christian Coalition have reached an advanced stage, our correspondent has learnt.
“Come the 2023 election, you must meet the church, or you’ll fail. The leadership must know that life and peace matter and we all will have a nation that we all can be proud of”, they said.
The parley would bring the church and politicians together for an engagement to lay down the interests of Christians and negotiate with politicians for the inclusion of the church in project Nigeria.
The meeting would enable the Christian leaders to negotiate on behalf of Christians in Nigeria.
The leaders said the discussion with presidential candidates, especially that of the major political parties, would top the agenda for their “Meet The Church Summit”, scheduled for September 20 at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
The convener of NNCC, Titi Oluwadare, stated these during a press conference on Friday.
According to her, Christians can no longer be spectators in the country, warning that any politician who fails to meet the church “would fail in 2023”.
Oluwadare in an apparent reference to the Muslim-Muslim ticket adopted by the All Progressives Congress despite the national outcry said the imbalance must be corrected before the country falls over and tips over the precipice.
She stressed the need for national interests to be above parochial interests such as religion and ethnicity.
According to her, Christians represent a big chunk of Nigeria but has failed to articulate a political vision and engage together to horn it into interests and ideas.
Oluwadare said, “The church is now awake and we are ready to constructively engage with other stakeholders in the Nigeria project. We are discussing with people of all faith, tribe and tongue in a bid for peace, national healing as well as national rebirth.
“Across the political system of Nigeria, there are three key interests and focal areas. These are the Christians, the Muslims, and the Tribal interests. The Muslims in Nigeria have effectively translated their Interests into ideas and political strategies and policies.
“The reality is that interests need to be harmonised, pursued, and transplanted or transformed to Politics, Ideas and Ideologies before strategic engagement and policies can evolve positively from there. Muslims have done this effectively Christians have not even started.
“The tribal interests have also been harmonised across Nigeria. We have Biafra, the Arewa and the Oduduwa interests politically. These interests erroneously has buried the National interest and identity and are causing Division amongst the youth because tribal interests have been superimposed as the main and exalted interest above National interest and identity.
“We are also saying we will no longer be ignored, used and dumped, manipulated as a block, enslaved, dictated to and disregarded.
“The NNCC recognises however that until the church engages and brings forth her interests and drives it into ideas and fashions out political strategy, the system will not be sanitised, neither can we play the role of responsible citizens who engage to turn around the tides in the favour of the common man, or who even engage to level the playing ground in our Nation and act as a voice of reason to check the excesses of other interests represented in the dynamics of political power in Nigeria.
“Therefore if this continues Nigeria will continue in the circle of retrogression, impunity and lack of accountability in the nation and the situation will continue to deteriorate even further.”
She said that church leaders had been widely consulted is to use NNCC as a pressure group and political negotiation tool for Christians.
The NNCC Executive Director in charge of (Politics), Uzuka Chukwuemeka, said if the nation can get the right kind of leadership, then it has solved a large chunk of its problems.
He said, “If church leaders are made to understand that indeed we are the light, then we can get to where we want to be. The narrative that Christians should not engage in politics because it is dirty has to change. The spiritual and the physical must be harnessed for impartation.
“If we get the right kind of leadership, our prayer points as a people will reduce drastically because we have solved half of our problems as a nation.”