Ten days to the commencement of the 2019 general elections, the Primate of the Anglican Communion, Most Revd Nicholas Okoh, Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr Ifeanyi Okowa have called for collective efforts for credible elections that will make the country better.
They made their positions known in separate addresses delivered at The Standing Committee meeting of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) held at St. Andrew’s Cathedral Church, Warri, Delta State.
According to the Primate, “every election result should reflect the will of the electorate, otherwise, it becomes a mockery of the whole exercise.”
“As we go again for another decisive moment for the future of this country, we appeal to all eligible voters to resist every inducement tended towards buying votes as this will spell doom for all of us in the coming years; we appeal to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not only to maintain the posture of unbiased umpire in this exercise, but to be verifiably seen to be doing so in every part of the country throughout this election,” the Primate said, adding, “if we must have free, fair and credible elections, all security agencies must remain neutral in this exercise; the Military, the Police, and others must be there to protect the interest of Nigeria as a nation, not individuals or particular political parties.”
He continued, “we call on the youth to refuse to be used to create chaos by men and women whose children have been taken to safety outside the shores of the country; INEC officials, political parties, their representatives, members, general electorates and of course, the votes must be protected without partiality; we charge all the contestants under God, who will judge all the activities of men, to allow the election process to be free and fair and be willing, in the interest of peace, to accept the results of the election.”
The Primate also, criticised the continuous holding of Leah Shuaibu by Boko Haram, decried the incessant strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and called on the Federal Government to revive the economy for more funds to be generated in the country.
To Mr Peter Obi, “we have no other country other than Nigeria, it is important for Nigerians to pray for us to have the best for our country.”
Governor Okowa at the occasion, said, “as we commence the process of electing the next set of leaders for our country and the constituent parts, it is my hope that the church must stay resolute in the place of prayer, whilst not shying away from strongly and actively participating in the electoral process.”
“We have the Biblical examples of Daniel, Elijah and Esther whose fervent intercession provoked God’s mercy, blessings and judgment, to encourage us to stay strong, especially in a time like this,” he stated, observing that the theme of the conference, The Lord is My Shepherd, “is an enchanting portrait of the deep bond that should exist between Father-God and His beloved children; it is one characterised by trust, dependence, and loving care.”
“From observing the life and work of the shepherd, the Sweet Psalmist of Israel strove to help us understand how God as our Shepherd tenderly provides for, guides and protects us His children; but here is the thing we must all understand, we cannot see God as Shepherd if we don’t first see ourselves as sheep; we must know God as Shepherd not only in our personal spiritual walk but also in all spheres of life, not least of which is politics and governance; as individuals and as a people, we should trust God to bring to pass our collective desires and aspirations; He curiously invites us to participate in His Government by humbling ourselves through prayer and fasting because, prayer is a sign that we are dependent on Him; it is acknowledgment that on our own we can do nothing, that our knowledge and wisdom are limited in solving the many intractable problems that confront us; the man who does not pray is a proud man, thinking that he can bring his schemes to pass by his own wisdom, strength and might. But as we all know, it is not by might, nor by power but by His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6),” he emphasised.