Why This Election Must Be Successful
THE prayer that should be on the lips of every patriotic Nigerian these days is that the forthcoming national election must be successful. This is important because the signals in the air are not very heart warming. There is so much tension in the air. Political violence has taken the centre stage, as the campaign trains of the various parties continue to coast across the hinterland canvassing for electoral votes. We must pray because some ungodly elements are bent on truncating our democracy at all cost. We need to be vigilant because while millions of God’s children are burning prayer candles for the peaceful outcome of the forthcoming election, the children of darkness are plotting day and night how to draw back the hands of the clock.
Only recently, a day after the President visited Maiduguri on campaign; Boko Haram members unleashed mayhem on the hapless citizens of the state, sending many to the great beyond. And now there is so much confusion as to whether election should hold in that part of the country, including Adamawa, Gombe and Yobe States, where the people have been turned into refugees. We must pray because in this time and age, thousands of our brothers and sisters have fled to Cameroon, Chad and Niger to take refuge. Surely, we need divine invocation now than ever before.
So much is at stake for us this February. Just close your eyes for a minute and imagine the country, the biggest black nation, in crisis. God forbid! The whole of West Africa and indeed Africa as a whole would literarily be shut down. Imagine Nigerians flowing from Lagos into Benin, Togo and Ghana to seek refuge. The attendant catastrophe would be enormous. It is better imagined. May that not be our portion!
Only recently, and mindful of the need to shun violence, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins cautioned politicians to desist from indulging in violence, and disruption of lives and properties, saying that such unruly conduct, if not checkmated, is capable of truncating the forthcoming election.
He described the reported violent eruptions in several parts of the country as unfortunate and misguided, adding that such retrogressive acts of aggression leading to loss of innocent lives and properties do not augur well for democracy.
“I feel very pained to hear and read of the several cases of violence recorded in parts of the country allegedly perpetuated by some supporters of the leading political parties. A situation whereby campaign vehicles of opposing parties are set ablaze, to the extent of causing bodily harm on others is unacceptable and barbaric. Violence would never get us anywhere. And so, I call on the leaders of the various political parties to call their supporters to order to forestall an imminent breakdown of law and order.”
The US Secretary of State, John Kerry equally re-echoed this fact in his recent visit to the country to meet with leaders of the political parties. This visit is quite instructive considering that some few years ago; there were rumours that the US had predicted the breakdown of the country in 2015. Now is the moment of decision. Perhaps Kerry’s visit should further serve as warning and a wake-up call to all of us, the politicians inclusive, that this house called Nigeria must not fail. This should remain our prayer.
Very Rev. Msgr. Osu, Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos.