Allow Opposition to thrive, Onaiyekan tells FG

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By Levinus Nwabughiogu

ABUJA – The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja diocese, Cardinal John Onaiyekan yesterday, told the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP-led federal government to get used to the presence of the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC, in today’s Nigeria as a necessary component of democracy.

Onaiyekan spoke when the newly-elected chairman of the party, Mr. John Odigie-Oyegun paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja to ask for his blessings in the new task of piloting the affairs of the APC.

Describing politics as a noble game through which leaders act on behalf of God in taking care of their fellow men, the Cardinal said that the course of democracy in Nigeria must be defended at all cost.

He admonished politicians to ensure that they have been called by God into public service before craving for it.

He said: “We believe that politics is a noble game because it is the way whereby we as human beings act on behalf of God to take good care of our fellow men. In our Catholic language, whatever we do as Catholics, we say we are doing as apostolity. Politics is an apostolity .

The word apostolity means something God has sent you to do. Like he sent the apostles. If God has not sent anybody into politics, he should come back. And if anybody is in politics, he must begin to convince himself that God has sent him.

“Politics has to do with how we organize ourselves. And it is a forum where we all meet despite our ethnic and religious differences. I want to thank you for coming and giving me the opportunity to associate myself with the hopes and the visions of a Nigeria where we can allow politics to be exercised in a rational and peaceful way presuming that everybody is doing what he thinks is the best for the country. It is not the question of enemies but different competing views and different competing strategies for arriving at the same objective of a better Nigeria.

“Whatever anybody may say, we do have a country called Nigeria and I believe it is a viable project. That there are challenges, of course, we know that. That, there are dislocations, no doubt about it. That, there are contradictions, it is very glaring. Often deliberately injected into the system to cause confuse. But once we believe that we want to live in one country, then our effort should be towards arriving at such a way that our differences can be appreciated…”

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