The Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, Dr Samuel Uche, has cautioned religious leaders in the country against collecting money from political parties and aspirants.
He alleged that some clerics have been receiving money from the People’s Democratic Party, the All Progressives Congress and the All Progressives Grand Alliance to endorse their candidates in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
Speaking at the Interfaith Initiative For Peace conference organised by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar and the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, in Abuja on Friday, the Prelate, who was a member of a panel, stated that a religious leader should be able to manage poverty or affluence.
He said, “I learnt that some religious leaders collected money from APGA, PDP, APC. Life doesn’t depend on the amount of money you have. A religious leader should be able to manage poverty or affluence. Religious leaders should stop being lovers of money.”
Commenting on religion and the forthcoming elections, the Methodist Prelate noted that religion would not play a role in the choice of presidential candidates in 2019.
Uche stated that while the APC presidential candidate, President Muhammadu Buhari and the PDP candidate, Atiku Abubakar were both Muslims, it would be of no consequence to Christians and other Nigerians.
The cleric said, “Nigerians would vote for the candidates of the two big parties and they are both Muslims; we don’t care about their religion, we only want someone that can lead the nation well.
“We will educate our members to vote according to their conscience, the person that we want is the one that can deliver. We must grow above religious bigotry.
“I go to Dubai on holidays and you don’t hear about religion there. Those harping on religion are suffering from what I called ‘compound stupendous ignoramus.’”
The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Mathew Kukah, admonished religious leaders against hobnobbing with politicians, noting that they must exercise restraint.
He stated that clerics must tell political aspirants the condition of the people and demand how the politicians planned to address the situation in the country.