The Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Matthew Kukah has cautioned loyalists of politicians not to kill themselves in demonstrating support for their candidates.
According to the septuagenarian priest, opposition politicians are friends jostling for their piece of the national cake and shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Kukah spoke on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Tuesday hours after the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu; and his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, Atiku Abubakar, bantered at the private wing of the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport in Abuja on Monday.
Kukah, who is the Convener of the National Peace Committee, said political fanatics should learn a lesson from the public exchange of pleasantries between Tinubu and Atiku.
He said the message from the banter is that political loyalists of both frontline presidential candidates for the 2023 election should be wise, eschew violence and not kill themselves for people drinking from the same pool.
“These politicians are struggling and they’ve lived their lives struggling for the national cake which they will distribute amongst themselves. It is therefore in the interest of ordinary Nigerians to know that they have to vote to stay alive,” the cleric said.
Kukah also said that enthusiasts of politicians “must understand that these politicians know themselves” regardless of their grandstanding and posturing.
He, therefore, advised supporters of candidates all over the country to be “a bit more restrained and wise”.
“We ordinary people must figure out how to manage our passion when it comes to politics. Don’t take seriously the grandstanding of the politicians.
“All the things you see about them abusing themselves or quarreling, you will think they will never shake hands. They are very good friends, and many of them drink from the same pool. So, don’t go and kill yourself for nothing. That is what that message is all about,” he said.
With about three months to the next general elections, political violence seems to be on the increase with some recorded in parts of Zamfara and Lagos states, spreading fears about the safety of voters at the polls in 2023.
A convoy of Atiku was reportedly attacked by hoodlums in Borno State last Wednesday. A rally by the former Vice President in Kaduna on October 17, 2022 was also disrupted by thugs.
Also, there have been increasing attacks on the offices of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) with the latest being on Thursday when hoodlums burnt two offices of the electoral body in Ogun and Osun states, destroying 65,699 uncollected Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs), 904 ballot boxes, amongst others.
Worried by the endless attacks, INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu on Friday held an emergency meeting with members of the Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security.
Yakubu said about 50 attacks have been recorded across the country since campaigns began on September 28, 2022.
The INEC boss urged the committee to take decisive action to nip such occurrences in the bud.