Ahead of 2019 General Elections, the Most Rev. Musa Panti, Archbishop of Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria (LCCN), has cautioned politicians against the use of hate speeches and slander in their campaigns.
Panti gave the advice on Friday in his speech titled “A Call to Embrace Politics of Respect, Dignity and Integrity” delivered at the LCCN Cathedral, Jimeta, Yola.
“It is most disturbing to see the increasing level of bitterness and hate expressed in the speeches of many of our politicians, young and old.
“Many politicians find it palatable to use derogatory, disrespectful and undignified language in their speeches against the other. This is not what Nigeria needs.
“It must be avoided. Political speeches should be anchored on ideologies that are aimed at canvassing for votes based on realistic manifestoes.
“The negative political rhetoric we hear each day we listen to news either over the radio or on television is not only lamentable but condemnable.”
According to him, comments being made under the guise of politics give cause for concern about the future of this country and especially about the forthcoming general elections.
“The spate of hate language in the political space leaves us with little optimism that the elections will be peaceful. This is not the way to go,” Panti said.
He said expressed disappointment that even religious leaders and their organisations had joined the bandwagon of politicking with bitterness in solidarity with political parties and politicians of their choice.
According to him, Christianity does not support such position.
“For us Christians, it is not acceptable to slander another person just because of political differences.
“The Apostle Paul, writing in Ephesians 4:31 says “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
“We must not inflame hate and enmity at any level because of political differences,” Panti said.
He urged all religious leaders, Christians and Muslims to rise and reject politics of hate and bitterness and instead, engage in preaching that promote peace and just society.
While encouraging youths to actively participate in the democratic processes, the Bishop urged them to refuse being co-opted by any politician to inflame violence either during or after the elections.
“Whatever that is happening now has consequences for the future, and that future is yours. You must, therefore, shape it differently by pursing peace and justice for all.
“All hands must be on deck to safeguard our democracy by remaining patriotic and proactive in our citizenship responsibilities.
“ Let us continue to pray and act rightly towards the general elections that the entire processes will be rooted in the principles of fairness, equity, integrity, credibility and transparency.
“We should not belittle the power of our collective votes in determining who governs us at any level,” Panti said