The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese, Matthew Kukah, has appealed to politicians to stop seeking the endorsements of religious leaders during elections but rather engage the people they intend to serve and sell their objectives to them to make the decision.
He also said the people of Edo State conducted themselves very well in the September 19, 2020, governorship election, adding that they left a legacy of electoral efficiency for the country.
Kukah said the people of Ondo State should take a cue from the Edo situation and seek to do better in the forthcoming October 10, 2020 election by ensuring their votes counted in a violent-free process.
The cleric spoke yesterday on a live television programme.
Kukah, who is a member of the National Peace Committee (NPC), also commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies, and civil society groups for their roles in the Edo State governorship election.
He said, “Our commendation also goes to the people of Edo State. I have received quite a lot of messages from old friends that I haven’t spoken to in a long time, commending the work of the National Peace Committee but really this is not an honour that one individual should take.
“It is the people of Edo State, the way they conducted themselves and I think in every sense of the word, they left us a legacy of efficiency.
“It is incumbent on the people of Ondo State to now ask themselves, why can we not do better than the people in Edo State?”
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Speaking on the decline in the percentage of votes witnessed in Edo State in the last couple of years, Kukah said, “rather than politicians running around Pastors and Imams seeking endorsements, they should be out there engaging the people and encouraging people to go out and vote.
“I think that the churches and civil societies have also done very well in terms of mobilising people but this is something that must continue as a process of engagement, not something that happens in the month of election because people need to be sufficiently convinced about the power of their votes and how significant and how important it is.
“Part of the problems is that the ordinary people go out to vote, the politicians give appointments to their friends, who they import, either from other states or from abroad, I am not saying people who are in the diaspora cannot govern but there is almost something dysfunctional about political rewards after elections.”
He added, “When last did you see a politician across Europe which we are trying to imitate go and bow to the queen or king or seek blessings from a bishop. We have too many intervening variables that are confusing the narrative.
“We are really not practicing the principles of democracy and it lies in the fact that only those who have money can hope to be voted into power.
“If you feel you need to be anointed to ascend to power then we are running a theocracy.”