From PETRUS OBI, Enugu
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday reassured Nigerians that his administration will enthrone a free and fair electoral process to consolidate on the country’s democracy.
The president who said there could not be good governance in an atmosphere where people manipulate votes to gain political power, argued that such had been responsible for the level of bickering among politicians in the country.
Jonathan who was at Mpu, Aninri Local Government for the dedication of the All Saints Anglican Covenant Church, built by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, said his administration was determined to make differences in the life of Nigerians.
You cannot talk about good governance where the elections of people are manipulated; you cannot steal a mandate and turn round to say you can govern well. Lawyers will say you can’t build anything on nothing, through your coming to power from councillorship to presidency is based on manipulation, there is no good thing you can do there. You cannot go and celebrate.
“First and foremost, people must vote for you and you cannot talk about doing something good without their support. It is actually during the military that they use big gun to overthrow those with small guns and take over. In the political dispensation, you must be properly elected, we must make sure that electoral processes are sanitised and the votes of Nigerians count.
“I know the kind of statement people make each time we leave here to other places; sometimes I feel so de-humiliated, and now the story has changed. What I can promise Nigerians is that with your prayers, we have our challenges, no doubt, but most countries have their challenges; we will make those little changes that will make a difference in our lives.”
He condemned the situation where Nigerians abandon the country for others based on the challenges confronting it, stressing that building a virile future was the collective responsibility of all and sundry.
“If we leave Nigeria and go elsewhere where we have all kinds of friends who may use business passports that can give you automatic entry into countries but they still regard you as a Nigerian.
You cannot fit in properly until you come home. We have talked about building the Church, let us join hands and build a nation that our children, grandchildren and Nigerians unborn will be happy, irrespective of provocation and political differences. “ Just like the primate said, every leader comes and goes but as a leader, you pray that you leave behind something solid.
If we progress from here, the whole country becomes highly developed.” He praised Ekweremadu for building the Church, which he likened to that built by Solomon for God in the bible. He said the Church would not only provide a place of worship but add to the evangelism drive of the people of the area.
Primate of the Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Nicholas Okoh, in a sermon said Nigeria’s problems were intractable because of human manipulation, adding that her people had not used her numerous religions to build an enterprise that could impact on development. “It is a shame that we have not harnessed the powerful resources we have to build our country but our failure to do that is because somebody has not been sincere because God is sincere”, he said.
He commended the church building and urged Nigerians especially Christians to carry Christianity beyond the walls of the church by working hard to deliver the country as one.
Ekweremadu in his speech likened the new church building to the covenant he had with God, stressing that on two occasions he was met with serious challenges of life that could have taken his life but was saved by the mere promise he made to God.
He said the dream started when as a student they were made to pray for their needs and since he was passing through challenges, decided that should God see him through, he would build a house for him. “Since then, it has been from one promotion to another and I have not done anything that I did not prosper.”
At the event were Senate President, David Mark, Governors of Abia, Theodore Orji, Anambra, Peter Obi, Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha, Senators, Ministers, while Enugu governor, Sullivan Chime was represented by his Deputy Sunday Onyebuchi.END