The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has urged the federal government to ensure that security agents are not used to intimidate voters during the forthcoming general elections scheduled to begin on February 16.
Onaiyekan, according to NAN gave the charge in Abuja yesterday while celebrating the New Year mass at SS Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Nyanya.
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had promised to ensure free and fair election and so prayed for God’s intervention to make it come true.
“It is the government that is responsible for free and fair election in any country, the government has all the necessary things to make it free and fair,” he said.
“The use of security agents should be handled properly to ensure that voters are not intimidated during election,” Onaiyekan said.
He prayed that Nigerians would elect good leaders in the coming election that would address the challenges of the country.
Onaiyekan said that the country was faced with corruption, unemployment and poor infrastructure.
“Nigeria need leaders that will carry everybody along to make the country a better place,” he said.
According to him, other African countries have moved ahead leaving the giant “Nigeria” behind.
The Cardinal said that most countries suffer from national disaster while Nigeria was faced with human disasters and urged Nigerians to serve God more than ever before.
He further called on Nigerians to pray that peace, progress and unity would pervade the length and breadth of the country.
Onaiyekan said great exploits would only be achieved through unity of purpose, brotherhood and peace.
“We should do all we can to realise that we are all children of the same God irrespective of our difference in religion, language or ethnic background,” he said.
Commenting on the Pope’s New Year message, he said that it should be the practice in Nigeria during the election.
He quoted the Pope, “Political office and political responsibility thus constantly challenge those called to the service of their country to make every effort to protect those who live there and to create the conditions for a worthy and just future.
“If exercised with basic respect for the life, freedom and dignity of persons, political life can indeed become an outstanding form of charity.”
He further admonished politicians not to practice “do or die” politics.
He advised those that would eventually emerge winners in the election to have a sincere and honest mind in order to serve the country better.