Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Anambra State, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has berated politicians in Nigeria and the electorate for indulging in vote selling and buying.
Describing the act as a sin, the cleric said the introduction of vote buying in the nation’s electoral process has dealt a great blow to the nation’s democracy and must not be allowed in 2019 general elections.
Bishop Ezeokafor who was speaking at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Awka, while delivering his Christmas message, told newsmen that vote buying is a “sin in the 11 commandment” and that those who indulge in it lack conscience and must go for confession.
He said: “Vote buying is a sin and a form of bribery. Both those that sell their votes and those that buy are guilty of the same crime.”
While urging Nigerian citizens to be in the vanguard of curbing the trend, the cleric stressed that it was the duty of the church to preach against the vice and called on the electorate not to give in but insist on voting according to their conscience.
“The electorate must use the 2019 general elections to rewrite the electoral history of Nigeria and that can be achieved if they decide to do the right thing by electing credible leaders.”
Linking the number of bad leaders in the country to vote buying, Ezeokafor noted that leadership had been the biggest challenge of the country, but could be overcome if the people do the right thing for right leaders to emerge to lead the country.
Speaking on the minimum wage saga, he regretted the cost implications of running government, and called for slashing of the jumbo packages earned by legislators and the security votes of the executives as a way of mopping up money to address workers’ demand.
He charged Christians to use Christmas which is a significant celebration in the Christendom to pursue the spiritual aspect of the event by being sincere in their endeavours.
He said, “Nigerians and Christians in particular should use this period to reconcile with God and man, as individuals, families and nation. We must thrive to live together. Let’s remember that after the Christmas and New Year, life continues.”