. . . Speaks On Onnoghen’s Removal
By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese His Lordship Most Rev. Dr. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has identify massive voting as the only true way election rigging and manipulation of results could be checkmated even as he urged Nigerians to turn out en masse to cast their vote and equally ensure that their votes count.
The outspoken Prelate advised Nigerians to vote wisely and vote according to their conscience to enable the best crop of leaders to emerge.
The Catholic Prelate who stated this at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka while speaking on the forthcoming general elections, cautioned against vote-selling and Vote-buying, saying that such vices were inimical to the electoral process.
The charismatic and influential bishop said vote buying and selling could only produce leaders who are not the collective wish of the people.
Bishop Ezeokafor appealed to politicians and their supporters to respect the constitution and play by the rules as the election was not a do-or-die affair even as he stressed that desperation and quest for political power should not be the primary reason for participating in an election but a desire to improve on the status quo if elected to serve the people.
Bishop maintained that politicians should refrain from foul-languages, hate-speeches and campaigns of calumny but emphasize more on practical issues of development especially as it concerns poverty alleviation and job creation.
He also noted that the forthcoming general elections would determine a lot for the country in the next four years and as such the electorate should not compromise their voting rights on the altar of pecuniary inducements even though he took cognisance of the fact that a perfect situation is utopian.
On the removal of Onnoghen, the Bishop noted with discontentment that the action and decision of the president was unconstitutional in the sense that due process was not followed in the whole saga stressing that barely 24 hours of his unlawful dismissal, election tribunals were set up and there seems to be no reasonable grounds for his dismissal; that there seems to be a hidden agenda in the entire episode.
According to him, the country is no longer in a dictatorship but a democracy where the constitutional rights of the citizenry must be respected while urging Nigerians to ensure that the president that would emerge after the elections should represent the collective decision of Nigerian people.