By NBF News

Retired Bishop of Akure Diocese of the Anglican Church, Reverend Bolanle Gbonigi, has described the 11 years of the nation's democracy as a ruse. Giving the verdict at the weekend in Osogbo, the man of God also took a swipe at those elected to direct the affairs of the country and its people since 1999 as let downs.

He spoke at a lecture organized by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Osun State Council to mark the Democracy Day anniversary, held at the Olu Osungbohun Hall, Press Centre, Osogbo.

Gbonigi pointed out that the foundation on which the present democracy was built, which was the 1999 Constitution, was 'defective and faulty,' while some selfish politicians compounded the problem with their unprecedented election rigging prowess.

'To rig election is to cheat, to steal, to defraud. It is to get into political offices by sinful means; people buy votes because their objective of going into politics is money and material wealth. 'They want to get position in order to get possession. Their desire is not to serve the electorate but to deceive and defraud them. Yet, God, our righteous King and Ruler, says: 'Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.'

'Rigging is a sin and since we have been rigging, we have been sinning; we are a condemned and condemnable people. The majority of our legislators became lawmakers by unlawful, fraudulent means. So, our democracy is like an edifice erected on false foundation. It cannot stand. That is why our democracy is a ruse and not a reality. That is why our country is now trembling, unsettled, tottering,' he stated.

He blamed all the major political parties in the country for the present precarious situation in the country arising from their fraudulent and corrupt activities within each of the parties and in relationships with other political parties. Assessing the quality of elected representatives of the people and their activities in the last 11 years, Gbonigi described as 'unfortunate' the fact that misfits and money-minded people rigged their ways into corridors of power.

'It is saddening that their motive for going into politics is money and material wealth, not humble and sacrificial services to the people. That is why winning election is for them a do-or-die affair, including assassination of their opponents. 'Their lust after money and material wealth is insatiable. That is why they fight, slap each other and sometimes behave like thugs. Some of them absent themselves from the meetings of their houses and other official duties in order to attend to their private businesses,' he added.

The renowned clergyman, however, has a message of hope for the suffering masses of the country as he prophesied that God would soon intervene and usher in a future rich in His blessings.

'Contrary to what the present outlook may suggest, God is in charge; and at His own time and in His own way, He will intervene in our national affairs. He will deliver the common people from those who are oppressing and exploiting them and establish His reign of righteousness, justice, peace and material prosperity in our country,' he stated.