2015: Politicians Must Not Cause Nigerians Pains - Onaiyekan

By The Rainbow

Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese John Cardinal Onaiyekan yesterday charged the political class to ensure that Nigerians do not suffer as a result of their scheming for the 2015 general elections.

Onaiyekan declared that government does not exist to perpetuate itself in office  but to serve the people, hence the bid for political posts must not affect the management of the nation negatively. He explained that the only reason people file behind candidates during elections is to choose those who can deliver services, but regretted that 'what we have seen so far has not been very encouraging; they can do better'.

Amid fears that the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is on the verge of collapse, given the barrage of crises resulting from the elections into the chairmanship of the Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF) and other internal squabbles, former minister of information Professor Jerry Gana  has given reasons for the lingering crises in the party.

Speaking on the side-lines of a book launch in Abuja yesterday, Gana took a swipe at those predicting doom for the PDP, saying 'they do not know the nature of the party, but fortunately we know and can say to Nigerians that the PDP will never collapse, die, or disappear, at least for now'.

'The reason we often have tension in the PDP, which is healthy for democracy, is that five major groups came together in 1998 to form the PDP. They buried their ideologies for the restoration of democratic rule and civilian authority; these are five groups that could have been five political parties, so there is always tension, which is healthy. I am always worried when there is silence in the party because it is only in the grave you have constant silence; wherever there is tension, there is progress,' Gana said.

On the Boko Haram insurgency, Onaiyekan, who is a member of Nigeria's Inter-religious Council, maintained that the activities of the proscribed sect such as killing of innocent Nigerians have no root in Islam. Religion, he said, 'is an asset and not a liability'.

Cardinal Onaiyekan therefore condemned the use of religion by some Nigerians to perpetrate evil in the country, saying that it will only encourage disunity among the people and take the country backward.

Onaiyekan spoke with journalists when he led some Christians to an inter-faith prayer and breaking of the Ramadan fast at the Apo Legislative Quarters in Abuja on Friday.

The chief imam of Apo Legislative Juma'at Mosque and chairman of Islamic Research and Da'awah Foundation, Sheik Muhammad Khalib, called on the federal government to regulate preaching at worship places.

'They have to go back to school and learn more. We learn every day; we try to go into research on the internet to know what we do not know.  Because, to be knowledgeable,  is to know that you do not know, but if you think that you know, that means you do not know. That is the problem and they are the ones who are fighting the society,' he said.

The chairman of the Apo Legislative Quarters Mosque and a member of the Presidential Peace Committee and Dialogue, Sen. Abubakar Sudangi, said 'if there is no peace in the country, there will be no dividends of democracy'.