Don’t Vote on Sentiment, Elect Credible Leaders, Says Cleric

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By Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Chairman, Anambra State Catholic Education Commission, Rev. Fr. Hypolite Adigwe, has advised Nigerians to eschew sentiments in voting for leaders at the general election.
He said that credibility, integrity and capacity should guide their choice in the general elections.

Adigwe gave the advice at a lecture he delivered at the Missionary Society of St. Paul of Nigeria, Abuja during its 2019 Annual St Paul’s Seminary Lecture.

While addressing journalists, the Catholic priest said the electorate should not allow themselves to be coerced to vote the wrong people but instead vote for only people who would contribute positively to the growth and development of the country.

He stressed that peace and socio-economic development of the country should guide Nigerians in electing leaders of proven integrity and unquestionable character.

According to the cleric, there is a need to continue to educate the electorate to vote for credible people who will not aid or support wrong policies or evil acts.

Speaking on the involvement of youths in politics, Adigwe said there were numerous ways youths can be involved in politics.

“If they are engaged in politics, they will be more inclined to serve in their communities in areas such as health, education and charity work. This level of involvement will continue as they grow older and the years of experience will refine their understanding of how civil engagement in our country works especially when they are able to vote, sign petitions, and even run for office themselves,” he said.

Adigwe noted that engaging youth in the political process was not just beneficial in the short-term, but it would also lay the foundation for strong political engagement in the future.

He advised Nigerian youths to realise that they are tomorrow’s leaders, adding that Federal Government should support them by providing the opportunities to learn and participate fully in governance.

One of the guest lecturers who presented a paper at the event, Austin Uganwa, decried what he described as faulty leadership succession that had seen Nigeria ruled by persons not prepared for challenges.

Ahead of next month’s presidential election, Uganwa said that there was an urgent need, ” for generational shift in political leadership structure in the country to equitably incorporate well-informed and properly equipped youths”.

Uganwa further enjoined the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure a credible electoral process that would provide the window for the emergence of the right political leaders.

Earlier, the Academic Dean of the Seminary and chairman of the organising committee for the annual lecture, Rev. Fr. Daniel Ihunnia, described the event as part of the church’s contribution towards the ongoing national debate on politics and governance.