James Emejo in Abuja
The Northern States Pentecostal Bishop’s Forum of Nigeria (TNSPBFN) yesterday warned President Muhammadu Buhari of “dire electoral consequences” over the disturbing silence and inaction by his administration concerning the spate of deadly attacks by armed herdsmen across the country.
The Chairman of the forum, Archbishop John Praise Daniel, told reporters during a media briefing in Abuja that the resulting loss of lives and properties needed to be decisively dealt with by the current administration in line with its constitutional responsibility which must not be abdicated.
He said the mindless attacks on places of worship and killing of defenseless Christians in the country are unacceptable and must stop immediately.
“Indeed, the ugly development portends grave danger for our national unity, food production capabilities and overall development,” he said.
According to him, “Of course, if people are displaced from their places and they become IDPS, how are we sure they are going to be able to vote because they have been displaced from their ancestral homes or homes where they’ve been.
“So, even if they are going to vote, some of them will be voting under tension and they may vote angrily because they’ll feel their plight and what they’re going through were not given consideration.
“So definitely, there’ll be electoral consequences and some will definitely vote in protest because of the pains they’ve been made to go through.
“So, I think if this government wants a re-election, I think they should sort out the matters on ground because people are not happy especially those who have been displaced through chaos and the killings and the killings have not abated and it’s affecting quite a lot all over the country and I think for their (government) good, they should do what’s right.”
The archbishop, who pastors the Dominion Chapel International Churches in Abuja, also called on the federal government to be more aggressive in the rescue of Leah Sharibu, the only Dapchi girl still in the captivity of Boko Haram since February, due to her courageous profession of the Christian faith.
He added that concerted efforts should be deployed to rescue the remaining Chibok girls still in the hands of the terrorists.
Daniel, who was flanked by other bishops from the northern region, further frowned at the selective approach by government in the fight against graft.
He said the ongoing fight against corruption should be prosecuted in a more balanced and robust manner, devoid of favouritism on account of political, social or religious affiliation.
The forum also said there’s need for transparency and accountability in the management of the nation’s resources- drawing attention to recent disclosure about criminal diversion of huge government revenues by agencies including the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
They stressed that such behaviour by the corporation was unsettling and constituted a dent on the current administration’s fight against corruption.
The clergy, further tasked government to work with relevant stakeholders to make the forthcoming 2019 general elections which is to be preceded by the Ekiti governorship election on July 14, free, fair and credible, without rancour or blood-letting- re emphasising the position of former President Goodluck Jonathan that “no one’s political ambition is worth the blood of any citizen.”
Among other things, the forum chairman, who read out the group’s position on the ‘State of the Nation’, stated that government needed to deploy more resources to physical infrastructure development, particularly power, roads which majority of Nigerians can leverage upon to engage in rewarding economic activities, thereby lowering unemployment and associated vices.
He said: “We are making a clarion call to the political leadership this day to lead in the onerous task of national rebirth and mobilise the unconditional support of all Nigerians to make it a reality…”
According to him, “Our forum will like to note with regrets, that the Nigerian political leadership since the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1999 has failed to rise up to the occasion, in salvaging the battered pride of our dear nation.
“At no time was this most evident than in the current dispensation in which nepotism, abuse of power and flagrant disregard for the rule of law have been elevated to a higher pedestal.
“Indeed, our gradual descent into Hobbesian state of nature where might is right and violation of human rights becomes the norm rather than the exception, thereby rendering life ‘nasty, brutish and short’, elicits great concerns and calls for urgent remedial actions.
He added that the forum considered it a patriotic duty to be in the vanguard of crusading for national rebirth with genuine fear of God and promotion of equity and justice in the country.