By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
The Anglican Bishop on the Niger, Anglican Communion, Onitsha, Anambra State, Right Rev. (Dr.) Owen Nwokolo, has condemned the practice by political god fathers to compel office seekers to take oath before being given tickets to run for elections or appointments.
Bishop Nwokolo who spoke to newsmen on the New Year, regretted that it had come to a point that before one was given a ticket to contest an election, one must bow down to idol.
He said, 'I want to talk to god fathers who dictate who gets tickets or not; who wins election or not. Many contestants have come to tell us their ordeal in the hands of god fathers who compel them to do devilish things before they can get tickets.'
Bishop Nwokolo continued, 'Some say they ask them to take bad oaths, dangerous oaths, sign documents that entangle them by compulsion in order to help them get political power.'
The apparently embittered Bishop who said this practice would not take the country anywhere, advised those seeking political office to stand their ground and do the right thing.
'If your party has manifestoes, follow it. If you have vision, follow the vision. Let nobody derail you. Do not bow down to idols. Do not go and sign any agreement or take oath. This has been happening in our nation but we expect that this time, there will be a difference. If you promise anything as a politician, endeavour to keep them when you are elected.'
Condemning vote buying during elections, Bishop Nwokolo questioned the rationale for the sale of votes by the electorate. He likened vote selling and buying for whatever reason to examination malpractice, which, he said, lead nowhere.
'So, we call on the politicians and voters alike, and every one, to observe the rules of the game. We pray there will be no violence in the February 2019 elections. We pray and appeal to politicians and voters to keep the rules. We also appeal to INEC to make sure that all preparations are made; that their machines are working, their vehicles are well serviced, so that on election day materials will be distributed on time, so that people can vote on time according to their conscience and genuine results will be announced,' he advised.
Bishop Nwokolo also condemned what he termed selective prosecution of anti-corruption war, saying that corrupt people should be made to face the wrath of the law irrespective of the political parties they belonged.
The Bishop called on the Federal Government to take drastic measures to curb the continued rising insecurity in the country caused by Fulani herdsmen, Boko Haram and others.
Bishop Nwokolo had in his Christmas message called on Christians all over the country to work as one and shun what he called scapegoatism.
'We should also use this Christmas to make peace as individuals, as communities. In various communities we are aware that they are fighting themselves over lands, over who will become traditional rulers and presidents general of the communities, but they should take steps to make peace because Christmas brings peace. God love peace and those celebrating him should be peaceful in all they do.
'We also call on people to stop removing ancient boundaries because it is the cause of land disputes between individuals and communities, God created ancient boundaries to ensure demarcations between the river and the lands, but people deliberately remove ancient marks that show boundaries and it is causing a lot of quarrels in our society.
'Those who fight over land do so because ancient boundaries created by God have been removed. We in the world should not change established landmarks, because when God created the world, he ensured there were boundaries. Whatever we are doing, we should also make sure we focus on God, seek his kingdom and righteousness,' he said.