Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has hit hard at Nigerian politicians, describing them as “selfish.” He feared that no amount of prayer would work in the country if its politicians continued in their recklessness and impunity in public and private conduct.
Cardinal Onaiyekan noted that the average Nigerian politician is self-centred and milks the people dry under the guise of serving them.
The clergyman charged Nigerians and journalists in Abuja yesterday at a press conference to mark his 70th birthday that the high level of impunity and political rascality exhibited by the political class must not be allowed to continue, adding that unless the politicians purge themselves of such characters the country may not go far.
Although he expressed delight that the country is still together despite the recklessness of politicians, warned that there is the possibility of the country dividing if the recklessness continued.
He condemned plea bargaining in law, arguing that “where a man steals a fowl and goes to jail politicians and civil servant will steal hundreds of millions and go scot-free in the name of plea bargaining.”
The archbishop regretted that politicians have not done much in the past to empower the electorate, accusing them of enriching themselves and their families.
He charged the political class to imbibe the culture of selfless service to the nation and eschew politics of impunity, which, according to him has been the source of conflict and crisis. He noted that the only way the country will come out of its present challenges is for the politicians to turn a new leaf and play the politics of development and without bitterness.
He urged the National Assembly to enact a special law to try people who commit electoral offences if the desire to have a free and fair election would be achieved.
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