By Sam Eyoboka
LAGOS – CATHOLIC Archbishop of Lagos Metropolitan See, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has described as “shameful”, the recent pomp and pageantry with which the former vice chairman of the PDP, Chief Olabode George, was welcomed into the society after his release from Kirikiri Maximum Prison, where he served a two and half year jail term for corruption.
Chief George, who was convicted on charges bordering on embezzlement of public funds while serving as the chairman of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, was welcomed in a carnival-like reception, especially by his PDP loyalists and supporters in Lagos last Saturday.
Cardinal Okogie, in a statement by the Archdiocesan Director of Social Communications, Rev. Monsignor Gabriel Osu, described the episode as a big moral and psychological blow to the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
“Tell me what are they celebrating? What message are they passing across to the generality of the people and, especially to the young ones? Are they now saying it is okay to steal huge funds for that matter, serve a few months jail term and return triumphantly to enjoy the loot?” the prelate questioned.
Okogie went further to accuse the Federal Government and the ruling party of treating the malaise of corruption which has adversely destroyed the nation with kid gloves, pointing out that this singular action reveals the hypocrisy of the ruling party on the fight against corruption.
“Otherwise,” he avers, “why will people be wearing aso ebi and making all that noise on national television to celebrate someone who looted public funds and caused a lot of people and their family members and the nation at large untold hardship.”
The archbishop did not fail to draw the attention of all those involved in this “show of shame to the present spate of revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East”, warning that “unless those in leadership position in the land caution themselves from insulting the sensitivity of Nigerians, the people may soon be provoked to revolt.”