By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
As the race to the 2023 presidential polls appears to have begun in earnest,the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, Most Reverend Felix Ajakaye, has tasked Nigerians to elect a competent and healthy President.
Also, the Bishop posited that zoning agitations might not be out of place, aying those who will emerge through such arrangement must be competent, healthy and sound intellectually.
The Clergyman spoke in Ado Ekiti at Prosperous Royal Hotel and Resort centre on Thursday while delivering a lecture entitled: ‘Ekiti Politics And The Search for Great Leadership’, to mark the 2021 Annual Lecture/Award presentation of the Nigeria Union Journalists, Correspondent Chapel,Ekiti State Council.
Awardees at the event include: Bishop Ajakaye, Senator representing Ekiti Central, Opeyemi Bamidele, a Veteran Journalist, Chief Femi Ajayi, a member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Bamisile and the Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University,Prof. Eddy Olanipekun.
The man of God advised that each state of the federation must resist all odds and elect responsible and committed individuals as Governors that can bring about the needed growth and development in the area of economy and solve the increasing cases of kidnapping, banditry and terrorism.
The Cleric said: “We need competent Nigerians to emerge as President and Governors in Nigeria for us to be able to be where we ought to be. For those agitating for zoning, the best must emerge from that zone to be Nigeria’s President , not recycled , weak and incompetent person.
“Whoever wants to be Nigeria’s President must be healthy, both in body and in mind. We are tired of a weak President and strong Presidency. We shouldn’t allow mediocres to be leading us and if we allow that, then we are in serious trouble”, the Bishop warned.
On the 2022 governorship poll in Ekiti State, the Cleric advised electorate to vote wisely and elect a governor that can give the citizens enduring legacy and not the cosmetic and momentary one.
Bishop Ajakaye stated that whoever emerges as a leader in the election must eschew winner -take- all spirit, by accommodating members of opposition and competent apolitical individuals in governance, for effective delivery.
Recalling the poor figures being recorded on election day in Ekiti due to voter apathy, the cleric specifically challenged the Ekiti elite to translate their writings, theories and talks into action, by participating effectively in electoral system.
“I humbly urge many of them to start mobilising and enlightening the people and sacrifice on election day, leave their comfort zone and come out like other people to vote”.
Bishop Ajakaye advised Nigerians to be determined in fighting the problem of vote selling and buying, saying this remains the best way to prevent their future from being mortgaged.
Speaking on the forthcoming June 18, 2022 and November 6, 2021 governorship elections in Ekiti and Anambra States respectively, the clergyman appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) to be truly independent and allow the votes of Nigerians to count.
“The Ekiti people seem to have been all weather people instead of standing up to their politicians and fashion out together our expectations of our dreamed Ekiti State. Although, Ekiti state keeps moving on doggedly and personally, it is yet to be where it ought to be.
“I have also observed that it is when election is coming that all manners of politicians began to emerge. They are one-off politicians. They will set up all manners of empowerment programmes and when the election is over, you won’t see them again. That is why we have to be careful”, he warned.
He also canvassed a strong internal democracy in all political parties, to help the fasttrack the growth and development of the country’s democracy and reduce crisis in the system
The Bishop also called for a strong structures and system in the country, to promote good and efficient governance as obtainable in advanced countries like the United States of America and Britain.
“If not for strong system, the former American President, David Trump would have trumped Americans. They have a system that can checkmate tyranny. Good and efficient governance shouldn’t be traded for anything.
“This is why you cannot joke with the politics of USA and United Kingdom. The parliamentarians are really distinguished and honourable in nature and character. They work effectively with the executive and the judiciary to avoid a chaotic , cynical and hopeless society. There is no interference, but mutual trust”.
The Chairman, NUJ Correspondents’ chapel, Ekiti Council, Victor Ogunje, said the lecture was organised to proffer solutions to seeming leadership deficit facing Ekiti.
Though the cleric did not specifically mention former Lagos Governor and APC Chieftain, Asiwsju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, it would be recalled that he recently returned to the country, after a prolonged stay abroad allegedly linked to health challenges.