By Bridget Ikyado
His Grace Cardinal John Onaiyekan, emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, has warned politicians against any attempt to rig the upcoming general election.
“With the current yearnings of the people for a better country, elections will not be business as usual,” Onaiyekan said Saturday during his 40th anniversary celebration as bishop, at Holy Trinity Church, Maitama, Abuja.
“Regarding the election results, politicians must desist from any form of manipulation in their favor if they don’t vote.
“All those who are planning games and machinations to frustrate the desire of the people’s decision regarding the results of the elections, must desist from it.
“All of them are in the government or not; They must desist from rigging or causing violence, they must not, they must allow this election to unfold freely and fairly,” he noted.
He said he did not have a special candidate, adding that the advice was for politicians to understand that “the state of mind Nigeria is in now is not a state of mind where they will calmly accept a rigged election.
“For the sake of peace, there will be serious repercussions if someone doesn’t allow free and fair elections. It will no longer be business as usual.
“I want Nigerians to know that they can no longer keep quiet all the time waiting for things to change; God will do miracles.”
Onaiyekan advised Nigerians to use their voter cards to express their opinions.
According to him, the result of the elections will not depend on who has more campaign posters or can mobilize more crowds to the stadiums.
“It will depend on who can convince Nigerians and give us a new type of government.
“A government that is based on people interested in working for the common good and not in getting rich or staying in power or protecting their stolen wealth so as not to be questioned,” he said.
The Archbishop advised politicians to fear God, as they will answer for their actions before Him.
“Even if no one asks questions, God will ask questions and He has his way of asking questions,” he added.
Also during the church service, the cardinal narrated his path through the priesthood.
“On a Thursday afternoon in January 1983, Pope John Paul II ordained me, Monsignor John Onaiyekan, as bishop at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
“After 40 years as bishop, I return thanks to God, many of those who were with me on that day are no longer here, but God through his special grace has kept me,” he said.
He begged God to bless all who had come and those who could not but have prayed for him.
In his speech, the Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Abuja, His Grace Ignatius Kaigama, described the cardinal as a man of humility and peace.
“So, we celebrate God’s gift to us in Nigeria, Abuja and in the world and I’m happy that God has saved him so far,” Kaigama said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that friends and clergy from inside and outside Nigeria came out to celebrate the cardinal. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Stanley Nwanosike/Maharazu Ahmed