Nigeria needs purposeful electoral reform – Catholic Archibishop
The President of the Catholic Bishop Conference of Nigeria, Most. Rev. Lucius Ugorji has said free, fair and credible and election and are the features of democracy, saying that Nigeria needs purposeful electoral reform.
According to Tribune, the Archibishop made this disclosure while when he paid a pastoral visit to St. Mary’s Catholic Parish, Iho Dimeze in Ikeduru Local Government of Imo State on Sunday.
The Archbishop expressed dissatisfaction with how Nigerians have never had a happy story to tell about elections in Nigeria.
The cleric lamented what he regarded as a high level of irregularities experienced during the last elections in the country.
He said, “Taking a critical look at Nigeria’s democratic environment,” Archbishop Ugorji said: “Good governance begins with credible, free and fair elections”.
Archbishop Ugorji said the management of the Independent National Electoral Commission in the country treats the people to what he called, “the more you look, the less you see”.
The cleric said, “Nigerian citizens know those that can effectively manage the nation’s resources but the sad thing is that elected few, transformed themselves into a cabal and have continued to unilaterally decide who should run the nation’s affairs”.
The President and the Archbishop of Owerri Catholic Archdiocese stressed that there were lots of electoral malpractices in the last election, noting that Nigerians are yet to get over the problems associated with the 2023 general election.
While commenting on the pending court cases before the election tribunal, Ugorji called on the Judges not to delay judgement on election matters that Nigerians are waiting for their decisions.
He said these judges should see the challenge before them as crucial and divine insisting that they cannot afford the luxury of disappointing Nigeria and Nigerians, in the discharge of their current national assignment.
The Archbishop called for what he tagged, “a more purposeful electoral reform in Nigeria.
He said, “We are looking forward to when people’s vote must count. We are also looking forward to a reform which will ensure that a victor in all electoral contests, must truly emerge before being sworn in.”
He criticized the Government for inequitable distribution of the nation’s wealth and the persistent faulty electoral process.
He also said the unknown gunmen, kidnapping, Fulani herdsmen in different parts of the country were the bane of challenges facing the nation.
He said, “The 2020 World Bank Report is a pointer to the suffering in our land. According to the report, only one per cent of the 80 per cent of the nation’s oil is sold, gets to the masses”.
He regretted that the bulk of this revenue is sadly cornered by those in power, their cronies and relations, while the rest of us sulk in abject penury.
He, however, said the government must find an appropriate way to address the issues otherwise the country would not move forward.