By Olayinka LATONA
THE Nigerian Church appears to have flagged off a process of mobilising Nigerians for the forthcoming elections scheduled for next year, if recent statements of the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Sunday Ola Makinde, are anything to go by.
Addressing journalists recently in Lagos after the ordination, consecration and inauguration of 10 new bishops, 13 lay presidents and 10 mem-bers of the Board of Trust-ees of the Wesley University of Science and Technology, Ondo (WUSTO), the Prelate said: “The Church is to mobilise people to register, teach its members political education so that they can vote in credible people which is very important, but it is amazing that the Church is wanting in doing this. The Church should teach people to perform their civic duties.”
He lamented that many churches in the country have been found wanting, when it comes to educat-ing their members on political issues. Stressing the importance of voting in credible and visionary leaders into elective positions, Makinde advis-ed Nigerians to insist on voting for trustworthy politicians who will deliver the dividends of demo-cracy, stating that Niger-ians must refrain from casting their ballot for political parties without manifesto.
Continuing, he urged Nigerians to elect those who will provide necessary basic amenities like elect-ricity, employment, securi-ty, food amongst others, for the masses, adding “it is a shame for Nigerians to go to South Africa and other African countries for medical treatment while travelling by road in Nigeria is a nightmare.”
According to him; “All we are saying now is; go out and register and vote for credible people and not parties. Parties have no manifestoes, no party is stable in Nigeria today. So, vote in personalities who are good and have something to offer the nation and not political parties that have nothing to showcase. Nigerians should watch out and vote for those who will fix our hospitals and roads.”
Makinde said: “There will be free and fair election in 2011 if the Federal Gov-ernment gives both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Judiciary a free hand and are to be made truly independent,” adding, however, that he has not seen any credible political party in Nigeria as of today “and I am bold to say it, they are all intra-crises.”
He commended the judi-ciary for its bold moves to restore justice and equity, which is what the country needs now.
On the amnesty prog-ramme, Makinde advi-sed the Federal Gov-ernment to fully reha-bilitate the militants and take the post-amnesty programme seriously. He also warned politicians to desist from using the ex-militants for their selfish motives.
While delivering the homily at the service, Rev. Emmanuel Afiri-yie, the bishop of Northern Ghana Me-thodist Church, on the theme “Aspiring to Leader-ship,” said it required hon-orable qualities to aspire for leadership and honour-able leaders should be reputable and principled people who would be irreproachable in their lives. He urged the new church leaders to emulate the leadership qualities of Jesus Christ for the progress of the church and society.