ost Reverend Felix Ajakaye, the Catholic Bishop of Ekiti, has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use the coming gubernatorial elections in Anambra and Ekiti States to boost its image positively.
The Clergy man, gave the charge in Ado Ekiti at the weekend, while delivering a lecture, entitled: ‘Ekiti Politics And The Search for Great Leadership’.
The lecture was part of the activities marking the 2021 Annual Lecture/Award presentation of the Nigeria Union Journalists, Correspondent Chapel, Ekiti State Council, held at Prosperous Royal Hotel and Resort.
Ajakaiye asked the commission to be above board and neutral in the conduct of the forthcoming Nov. 6, 2021, Anambra governorship poll, so as to keep its image from further dent.
He admonished the electoral umpire to also replicate same in the June 18, 2022 governorship election in Ekiti, saying the image of the commission is central to achieveiving public confidence in accepting outcomes of election exercises, as credible, acceptable, free and fair.
He also asked voters to avoid compromising their future through engaging in activities capable of aiding and abetting fraudulent practices that go against the norms of acceptable global standards.
According to him, INEC must act as a truly independent body, and allow the votes of Nigerians to count.
“I have observed that it is when election is coming that all manners of politicians begin 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.
Bishop Ajakaye stated that whoever emerged as a leader in the elections must eschew winner-take-all spirit, by accommodating members of the opposition and competent apolitical individuals in governance, for effective delivery.
Speaking on the poor figures being recorded on election day due to voter apathy, the challenged Nigerians, especially those in Anambra and Ekiti to participate effectively in electoral exercise.
“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 remained the best way to prevent their future from being mortgaged.
On the 2023 Presidential election, he urged Nigerians to elect competent President and Governors that would transform the country and all states beyond the present situation.
Bishop Ajakaye added that while the controversial zoning agitations might not be out place, those who would emerge through such arrangement must be competent, energetic and sound intellectually.
He advised that each state of the federation must resist all odds and elect responsible and committed individuals like Governors, who 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 strong both in body and mind.
“We should not allow mediocres to be leading us and if we allow that, then we are in serious trouble,” the Bishop said.
Awardees at the event include Bishop Ajakaye himself, Senator representing Ekiti Central, Opeyemi Bamidele, a Veteran Journalist, Chief Femi Ajayi, a member of the House of Representatives, Femi Bamisile, and the Vice Chancellor, Ekiti State University, Prof. Eddy Olanipekun.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman, NUJ Correspondents’ chapel, Ekiti Council, Victor Ogunje, said the lecture was organised to proffer solutions to seeming leadership deficit facing Ekiti.