OKOGIE, GROUP SLAM PDP OVER GEORGE
The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has described as shameful to the nation, the grand reception organised to welcome the former Vice Chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, on his release from Kirikiri Maximum Prison where he served a jail term of two and a half years.
Similarly, an Igbo socio-cultural group, Congress for Igbo Agenda (CIA) described the rousing welcome as shocking, ridiculous and obscene celebration of corruption.
Addressing newsmen in Abeokuta, the President of CIA, Rev. Innocent Chukwudi Peace said: 'Today corruption is being celebrated as in the case of Chief Bode George whom the court jailed for corruption and enriching himself to the tune of several billions of naira.
'When he came out last week, drums were rolled out in celebration and jubilations. What a shame of a nation?''
The CIA leader said Nigerian leaders appears not to have learnt anything and were not ready to learn anything by their actions and inactions.
Chief George, who was convicted on the charges amounting to embezzlement of public funds while serving as the chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), was welcomed in a carnival-like manner especially by his PDP loyalists and supporters in Lagos last weekend.
Cardinal Okogie, in a press release through the Director of Social Communications of the Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Reverend Monsignor Gabriel OSU, condemned the whole show, which he said was 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 queried.
Okogie went further to accuse the Federal Government and the ruling party of treating the malaise of corruption, which had adversely destroyed the nation, with kid's gloves.
He said: 'This singular action reveals the hypocrisy of the ruling party on the fight against corruption. 'Otherwise, why should people be wearing 'aso ebi' and making all that noise on national TV to celebrate someone who looted public funds and caused untold hardship to a lot of people, their family members and the nation at large.'
Moreover, the cardinal did not fail to draw the attention of all those involved in this, 'show of shame to the present spate of revolutions in 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.'
The Catholic archbishop said: 'This new development is very unfortunate, totally condemnable and unacceptable to any reasonable mind especially in the light of the ostensive fight against the massive embezzlement of public funds which has impoverished the people and further destroyed all public services.'
For him, everyone who participated in the inglorious party was definitely not the type of politician Nigerians need today because they had shown that they were not deserving of public trust.
The cleric admonished politicians and all public office holders to desist from deceptive and crooked ways and turn to God in truth and righteousness.