By: Joy Odor/Abuja
Catholic Bishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, has urged those that have been declared winners in the 2019 presidential and gubernatorial elections across the country to cuddle those that did not vote for them, instead of punishing them.
Bishop Onaiyekan made this call in his address at the 2019 First Opening Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) with the Theme: “Governance in Nigeria and the Common Good” at the Saint Gabriel Chaplaincy Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria Abuja on Monday, 11th of March, 2019.
He stressed that because of grudges, the peace of Nigerians has always been threatened; the masses have been leaving in tenterhooks and hoped that the leaders will learn their lessons.
“When troubles break out, the politicians will be the first to take the next available flight out of the country with their families. It is the people, the voter, who is denied the once in four years opportunity to choose who will serve us as political leaders” he said.
According to him, those who give conditions when the people are not happy are being irresponsible, pointing out that the essences of the meeting is to prevent general disorder from breaking out.
Bishop Onaiyekan frowned that, in this modern era, free, fair, transparent and peaceful election has become hard to attain to the extent that the problems are deliberate manipulations.
He said elections are supposed to be an opportunity for all to chose those who will serve them, rather it has been turned into a battlefield and the process become militarized with armed thugs, saying no wonder it has become such a do or die affair.
The Bishop of Abuja noted that if the name of the political game does not change from domination to service, elections will continue to be problematic and the nation would continue to stagnate.
“Whatever the out of the elections, fair or foul, whoever holds power at the end of the day, even with the fairest of election victory, must remember that power belongs God and to Him alone. He will demand strict accountability on how anyone takes power, and how anyone uses power. God cannot be deceived or challenged.
“In our democratic nation, the people will be well served and God properly honoured if elections are free and fair and leaders serve the people according to God’s will in honesty and justice for all.
“Those who have been declared winners in these elections must combine their euphoria in victory with a sincere examination of conscience before God. Not only the good of the nation but also their salvation before God at stake.
Bishop Onaiyekan therefore told those who claim that the elections were wonderful because it worked in their favour should be reminded that bad elections cannot lead to good governance.
The Catholic Bishop of Abuja enjoined the government that have been declared re-elected to listen to the sound of murmurs and protest in the winds and take pro-active steps to pull the nation together as Nigerians awaits the outcome of the legal challenges on course in the tribunal.
Also speaking during the meeting, the Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna, His Grace, Most Reverend Mathew Man-Oso Ndagoso explained that the Bishops Conference is an annual meeting where they will be discussing issues concerning the Church and the state of the nation.
He enjoined the people to hold the winner in the electoral process accountable and hoped that the winners would be able to give directions as to what happens after elections.
“The Bishops Conference is coming shortly after the elections and we will be discussing about democracy and good governance. When we are in ahead of elections, everyone is active but once elections have gone, people are quite and therefore we do not hold those elected to offices accountable.
“Those elected, the people should be able to hold them accountable. With the results coming out for gubernatorial elections, I hope the winners would be able to give directions as to what happens to after elections” Ndagoso said.