By Emmah Onumah and Gid Ahanonu
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has been charged to conduct the forth-coming general elections and the subsequent ones, with integrity and transparency.
The Anglican Bishop of Owerri, Rt. Rev. Cyril C. Okorocha, PhD, threw the challenge to INEC when the delegation from INEC in Imo State, led by the new Resident Electoral Commission, Prof. Francis Chukwuemeka Ezeonu, paid him a courtesy call in his office, recently.
He noted that the problem with Nigeria is traceable to lack of conscience to do what is right or condemn what is evil.
The bishop described as loathsome and provocative, the hypocritical behaviour exhibited at all levels of political leadership in this country which, according to him, engenders much injustice and oppression on the electorate, adding that, such hypocritical behaviour accounts for why people are reluctant to come out to be registered, and to vote.
As he further noted; “sometimes it is not who has won the election but who eventually emerged”.
The Prelate, who prayed God to give the leadership of the Imo State INEC a lot of courage and grace, to tackle the arduous task facing them, warned that a good name is better than gold and silver, more so, if they are on the side of Jesus Christ, as they do their work.
The man of God spoke against bad leadership and bad followership prevalent in governance these days, and a situation where, according to him, church leaders resort to sponsoring a particular politician, candidate or party, or tell their members who to vote for, stressing that it makes a church lose its conscience and moral authority.
He observed that there is nothing wrong in a couple voting for different parties or candidates, as a mark of democracy and an exercise of franchise.
Earlier, the Resident Electoral Commission, Prof. Ezeonu, said the courtesy call was intended to familiarize himself with the Bishop and other stakeholders in the state, as well as seek the Bishop’s prayers and blessing, adding that, the church is a platform for sensitization and mobilization, especially in their on-going registration and delineation exercise.
The Federal Electoral Commissioner expressed the belief that, if the church sensitizes the people, they would listen and act positively. He thanked the Bishop for granting them access to his office, and sought for the Bishop’s guidance, counselling and direction, from time to time.
The Commissioner was accompanied on the visit by Dr. Fidelis Uguru, Head of Operations, Barrister Onyemuche Elekwa, H.O.D Legal Department, Mrs. Emmanuela Ben-Opara in charge, Voter Education Department, and the State Protocol Officer, Mr. Michael Okoli.