With just 25 days to go until the general election, religious leaders on Wednesday called on Nigerians to view the polls as a time of peace, not war.

The clerics gave the advice at the Interfaith Peace Summit themed ‘Processing Peaceful Elections: The Role of Religious Communities’, organized by the NTA Abrahamic Mission in conjunction with the Al-Habibiyyah organization, in Abuja.

At the event, Bishop Peter Ogunmuyiwa of the African Church (diocese of Abuja and the 19 northern states), said that each candidate was a creation of God.

According to him, Nigerians should allow God’s will to prevail, casting off religious and ethnic fanaticism.

He said: “Each candidate is a creation of God and we must see each other as brothers, regardless of their ethnic or religious leanings. There are good leaders in all parts of this country and in all religions. Therefore, we must get rid of the nepotistic mentality in our attitude towards other tribes.

“Let us preach love and peace to our people, before, during and after the elections. Nigeria is bigger than all of us and we must work to preserve it. Above all, God’s will will prevail, the sign is that God is interested in Nigeria, whatever the outcome of the elections.

“Anyone can be our president, any religious person can be our president. What is important is what they have to offer Nigerians. A candidate’s religion should not be the basis of our elections, but his background and commitment to the development of our country.

“The effect of bad governance is felt by all Nigerians, regardless of their ethnic group or religion. Therefore, we must be wise this time and make wise decisions in the upcoming elections, we need peace in Nigeria and we cannot afford any more religious or civil war that is normally instigated by religious or tribal sentiment.”

Speaking in the same vein, Abrahamic Mission presenter Imam Fuad Adeyemi said that one of the ways of doing things in Nigeria was through the religious path and that it was pertinent to sensitize religious leaders and followers to the need for a peaceful coexistence.

He said: “We are mainly religious people in Nigeria and if China can introduce a special event into the Olympics that no one knows about except them, there is nothing stopping us from using what we have to achieve what we want.

“What we have is to be religious and we want to use that religiousness to achieve peace and make things right in Nigeria. As you know, anything you want to do successfully in this country, if it goes through religious houses, is likely to be easy.

“The politicians, followers, thugs and everyone has a religious house they go to or the other. It is in those houses that we want to sensitize religious leaders to what their religion says about living a peaceful life.

“My message to the Muslim community is to imitate what God really wants. What does God want? God wants us to live in peace. From this, God will decide who gets what. We must not think that what we want is what God wants, we must be able to accept God’s judgment”.

Earlier in his opening remarks, NTA Executive Director of Programs Wole Coker said the most important thing was for Nigeria to remain Nigeria after the elections.

He argued that Nigerians should relegate religion and ethnicity to the background, saying that the indivisibility of Nigeria was more important.