By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
Worried by perceived illegal campaigns being allegedly carried out by most politicians in Ekiti State ahead of the forthcoming gubernatorial election slated for July 14 this year, the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti Diocese, Most Reverend Felix Femi Ajakaye, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to sanction the affected politicians for allegedly violating the electoral laws unfolding campaign period.
Bishop Ajakaye, who chided those jumping the gun to commence campaigns, held that “according to the Electoral Law, it is not yet the time for campaigns,” but observed that “realistically, most of the aspirants started their campaigns in 2017.”
Bishop Ajakaye who made the call in his 2018 New Year Message, also charged Nigerians not to continue to despair in the failures of the past but that we should “retrace our steps and think, plan and act positively and meaningfully.”
The cleric, who termed 2018 as “Year of Encouragement” said “in 2018, we are to learn from our different experiences in 2017. This is not the period for complaining perpetually. As hopeful people, we must keep encouraging ourselves.”
While noting that there are lots of people who have continued to express their interest in the governorship race, Ajakaye said their campaigns were “noticeable in their promotions on both Radio and Television. Posters and billboards are strategically placed in different parts of the State, especially in Ado-Ekiti, the State Capital.
“In this regard, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must act promptly and call these people to order. There is need for sanity. The people who are violating the law should be prosecuted as a lesson for others.”
On the coming elections in the state, the cleric said he had also observed that politicians had been wooing the citizenry of the state with what they referred to as “empowerment”, saying “some of these so-called ‘messiahs’ even set up foundations” to woo the unsuspecting masses.
He said: “I have also observed that it is when elections are approaching that different people will emerge as aspirants and many of them will introduce programmes and activities which they claim as empowering the unsuspecting masses.
“All in the name of helping other people! These people are one-off people with one-off programmes. Such people tend to exploit other people and use them as ladders to get what they want and remove the ladders once they satisfy their desire, forgetting nothing lasts forever and no condition is permanent. This is food for thought for the people of Ekiti State.”
He noted that “Nigeria needs true leaders who will be sincere and purposeful witnesses in their words and actions. Leaders who will not be engaging in destructive vendetta, leaders who will not be interested mainly in awarding themselves, families, cronies and hangers-on contracts, giving themselves undeserved national honours and promotions, leaders who do not care about the unity and survival of Nigeria.
“In this light, in 2018, Year of Encouragement, all well-meaning Nigerians must join hands together in our search for true, selfless and purposeful leadership, rather than allowing a cabal to keep ruining our country; all in the name of leading or ruling. Lesson of life – Never put your mouth in motion without thinking deeply. By God’s grace, we shall overcome.”
He charged that “As children of God and citizens of Nigeria, let us return to God for real cleansing, purification. By doing this, God will be in us and we will also see and recognize God in other people. Not only that, we will also be able to get our priorities right as we walk our talk and our prayers wherever we find ourselves this year.”