As the race to the 2023 presidential race becomes fiercer, the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, Most Reverend Felix Ajakaye, has urged Nigerians to elect a competent and healthy President that would transform the country beyond this present sordid and embarrassing situation.
Bishop Ajakaye added that while the deafening zoning agitations might not be out of place, those who will emerge through such arrangements must be competent, healthy and sound intellectually.
The Cleric spoke in Ado Ekiti while delivering a lecture entitled: ‘Ekiti Politics And The Search for Great Leadership’, to mark the 2021 Annual Lecture/Award presentation of the Nigeria Union Journalists, Correspondent Chapel, Ekiti State Council.
Awardees at the event include Bishop Ajakaye, Senator representing Ekiti Central, Opeyemi Bamidele, a Veteran Journalist, Chief Femi Ajayi, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon Femi Bamisile and the Vice-Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Prof. Eddy Olanipekun.
The cleric advised that each state of the federation must resist all odds and elect responsible and committed individuals as Governors that can bring about the needed growth and development in the area of economy and solve the increasing cases of kidnapping, banditry and terrorism.
He said “We need competent Nigerians to emerge as President and Governors in Nigeria for us to be able to be where we ought to be. For those agitating for zoning, the best must emerge from that zone to be Nigeria’s President, not recycled, weak and incompetent person.
“Whoever wants to be Nigeria’s President must be healthy, both in body and in mind. We are tired of a weak President and strong Presidency. We shouldn’t allow mediocres to be leading us and if we allow that, then we are in serious trouble”, the Bishop warned.
On the 2022 governorship poll in Ekiti State, the Cleric advised the electorate to vote wisely and elect a governor that can give the citizens an enduring legacy and not the cosmetic and momentary one.
Bishop Ajakaye said whoever emerges a leader in the election must eschew the winner-takes-all spirit, by accommodating members of the opposition and competent apolitical individuals in governance, for effective delivery.
Reminiscing on the poor figures being recorded on election day in Ekiti due to voter apathy, the cleric specifically challenged the Ekiti elite to translate their writings, theories and talks into action, by participating effectively in the electoral system.
“I humbly urge many of them to start mobilising and enlightening the people and sacrifice on election day, leave their comfort zone and come out like other people to vote”.
Bishop Ajakaye advised Nigerians to be determined in fighting the problem of vote-selling and buying, saying this remains the best way to prevent their future from being mortgaged.
The clergyman appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to be truly independent and allow the votes of Nigerians to count.
“The Ekiti people seem to have been all-weather people instead of standing up to their politicians to fashion out together our expectations of our dreamed Ekiti State. Although Ekiti state keeps moving on doggedly and personally, it is yet to be where it ought to be.
“I have also observed that it is when the election is coming that all manners of politicians begin to emerge. They are one-off politicians. They will set up all manners of empowerment programmes and when the election is over, you won’t see them again. That is why we have to be careful”, he warned.
He also canvassed a strong internal democracy in all political parties, to help in fast-tracking the growth and development of the country’s democracy and reduce crisis in the system.
For Nigeria to thrive in all spheres, Bishop Ajakaye called for a strong structure and system in the country, to promote good and efficient governance as obtainable in advanced countries like the United States of America and Britain.
“If not for a strong system, the former American President, David Trump would have trumped Americans. They have a system that can checkmate tyranny. Good and efficient governance shouldn’t be traded for anything.
“This is why you cannot joke with the politics of the USA and the United Kingdom. The parliamentarians are really distinguished and honourable in nature and character. They work effectively with the executive and the judiciary to avoid a chaotic, cynical and hopeless society. There is no interference, but mutual trust”.
The Chairman, NUJ Correspondents’ chapel, Ekiti Council, Victor Ogunje, said the lecture was organised to proffer solutions to the seeming leadership deficit in Ekiti.
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