By Sam Eyoboka
Irked by the current political brickbats in the nation, retired Catholic Archbishop of Lagos Metropolitan See, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has urged Nigerians to insist on true democracy, disband an oligarchy of kings and kingmakers and free themselves from politicians who have held them hostage for two decade.
Okogie, in his latest message to the nation, yesterday, entitled “For the sake of our nation,” said: “For the sake of our nation, let us, as a people, insist on internal democracy within the parties, on a nationally-televised debate among contenders for various offices, especially the Presidency, and let us insist on a credible electoral process.
“Such will be for the good of our children and our children’s children and for the sake of a nation exposed to insecurity by absence of governance. The time has come for us to differentiate between a political jobber and a statesman.
“A political jobber is a merchant who buys and sells loyalty in order to be in power. He does not care about the morality of his means. He would, therefore, do everything to win an election or be declared the winner. His sole and ultimate objective is access to power and to the perks of office.
“But the ultimate aim of a statesman is not power, it is service of the common good. And even if he plans to win an election, he does not transgress the boundaries of morality. He is fair in running for office and fair in running the office. He works for the good of the nation and for the good of its citizens.
“Rather than use or threaten to use violence, he shares his vision with the citizens, respects their right to share or repudiate the vision, and their right to decide through an electoral process free of fraud or coercion. Political jobbers manipulate the electoral process.
“Statesmen respect their integrity. The choice before Nigerians in the 2019 elections, therefore, is that of choosing between political jobbers and statesmen. And for the sake of our nation, we must make a right choice this time around.
“Nigeria’s two major parties, and, almost without exception, all the other parties have been hijacked by political jobbers lacking in statesmanship. Bereft of internal democracy, they have become gangs of the fraudulent and the violent.
“Boko Haram continues to bomb, herdsmen continue to murder, while parties stage congresses and primaries, their members unleashing thugs on one another and on us. Silence is reasoned discourse, but loud is the sound of gunfire. And as the year 2019 approaches like a fast-moving train, we the people are chained to the rail line by violent and deceitful politicians. Our politicians threaten our peace.
“Outwitting and outfoxing each other within their parties, emerging through a nomination process that breaches all tenets of democracy, candidates without democratic credentials prepare to rob us of our votes.
‘’Recycled, packaged and repackaged, like fake products, they tell lies, they make false promises, promises they have neither the capacity nor the intention to fulfill. Parties insult our intelligence by imposing utterly incompetent and unworthy candidates on us and ask us to choose the lesser of two evils.”