The Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III, on Monday told President Goodluck Jonathan that he might not vote during the next month’s general elections because he had yet to collect his Permanent Voter Card.
Jonathan, who was in Sokoto State in continuation of the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential campaign, visited the religious leader to seek his blessing.
The Sultan said it was imperative for the Federal Government to do everything within its powers to ensure that no eligible voter was disenfranchised.
He said, “Let us respect people’s wishes; let’s not try to disenfranchise anybody.
“We have had issues of the Permanent Voter Cards and I want to tell you that even myself, I don’t have a PVC, so it means I will not vote on February 14.
“So, we have to look for a way out, it is for your government to now look for what to do, how to ensure that all the cards get to the voters before the voting day or in the alternative, find a way out because for any problem there is a solution.
“We believe you will find a solution as regard this very serious hitch facing us because millions of Nigerians seem to be heading towards disenfranchisement and they won’t be able to vote. I have heard comments from the INEC Chairman, (Prof. Attahiru Jega), but we are still waiting for our cards to come.”
The religious leader expressed concerns that campaigns ahead of the general elections were taking religious colouration instead of being issue-based and urged all candidates to embrace peace and also caution their supporters against violence.
The religious leader urged the government to work hard to end insecurity in parts of the country.
He added, “As the leader of the Muslims in this country, I will not fail to intimate the President and his government with the problems Muslims face in this country, that is our own area of attention as Muslim leaders.
“We care about how we live as a people and we are very worried about how we are living now as a people and God Almighty who placed leadership of the country on your shoulders, we feel we must always alert you on how we have been living.
“I will say never a time in this country’s history that we face very serious challenges like what are facing now.
“The whole politicking had been turned into either religion or ethnic matters and this should not be so because we see what happens across the world.
“We are worried because religion had been brought into it, we made it very clear in 2011, there is no way religion should be part of the election campaigns or even the election itself.
“As you have seen here, I think there are more Muslims in this room than Christians and coming here now to come for prayers for success of your campaigns goes to show that as the leader of the Muslims, I have no choice than to pray for you.”
The Sultan advised the President on the need to tackle insecurity and unemployment.
“On insecurity issues facing us in all parts of country, we have heard campaign promises left, right and centre but we want to hear from our political leaders, how do you intend to resolve the security issues? How do you intend to tackle unemployment? How do you intend to tackle the rot in education?
“These are issues that should concern the various political leaders instead of mudslinging, calling each other names and whatever.
“We are very worried what we see in newspapers, watch on television and hear comments from our people, brothers and friends.
“Politics of this country have now been turned into a war, families are being divided, friends have become enemies just because of seeking for political office,” he lamented.
He wished the Jonathan’s campaign team well in its endeavours as he prayed for peaceful and fair elections.
Jonathan told the Sultan that his administration was committed to transforming the country.