Former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to allow Nigerians pick his successor in 2023.
Onaiyekan expressed displeasure that up till now the insecurity in the country still persists.
He spoke yesterday at the 2022 annual St. Paul’s lecture and merit award of the national missionary seminary of St. Paul Gwagwalada, Abuja.
Onaiyekan, who spoke on the theme: ‘Constructing redemptive narratives of hope in Nigeria’, lamented that Nigeria has failed as a nation if killings and kidnapping amongst other social vices continues till 2023.
His words: “There was no reason why the spate of insecurity should continue like this till 2023 and that there was no reason the nation should not be able to finally settle this problem before 2022 is over.
“My advice for President Muhammadu Buhari is that he should realise that he has finished his tenure and he should allow Nigerians to pick his successor.
“I’m one of those who believe that a lot still can be done between now and 2023 to improve our electoral system.
“What we had in 2019 was a shame. There is still rancour between the National Assembly and the Presidency, and the rancour between the political parties.
“If the political parties cannot come out in a reasonable way with candidates, respecting all the rules of democracy, how can we have a democratic government? Because the political parties are the ones to give us the candidates for whom we shall vote.
“Everybody concerned should please allow Nigerians to be able to make their choice freely and fairly in an atmosphere of peace with no intimidation, not even by the government.
“It is clear that the government has failed. Only the bandits are holding guns. Those who are ruling us are not aware of the state of the nation.
“Ethnicity and religion is tearing us apart. We must find a way to continue to live in peace together. We must accept freedom of religion. We should get over tribal profiling in this country. Employment should be made on merit and the provision of our laws should be applied.”
He stressed that Nigeria needs a truth and reconciliation process, adding that the church should at all times give advice and pray for peace to reign no matter the situation.
Former Governor of Imo State, Emeka Ihedioha, advised politicians to be honest and deliver the dividends of democracy before, during and after the 2023 general elections.
Ihedioha advised politicians to be committed to the needs of the people.
His words: “We politicians should be honest to the electorate and deliver the dividends of democracy to the people who consciously vote for us.
“When people invest in the election process they want good governance. I think we should be honest to ourselves and be committed consciously to the needs of our people.
“I want to appreciate the steps taken by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), for their resolve to give us free and fair elections, and it is becoming clearer to me that the executive and the legislature would collaborate with them.
“Nigerians are very optimistic that the election of 2023 and the votes of the electorate will count.”(The Nation)