Archbishop Emeritus of the Catholic Church, Abuja, His Eminence John Cardinal Onaiyekan has said he is yet to come to terms with the fact that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is the president-elect of Nigeria. He said he will wait for the court to rule on the matter.
He made the submission in an interview with Arise Television, monitored by Church Times on Monday, March 6.
Onayekan was asked what his counsel will be for Asiwaju Tinubu as the president-elect of the country. He said, “ I have not arrived at the conclusion yet that Tinubu will be the president because the process is still on. It is difficult to assume that Tinubu will be president. Any of the three contenders can still be president depending on the outcome of the court case.”
When reminded that the trajectory is there that he would be sworn in as the president, he said, “ I do not understand this trajectory that he will be sworn in.”
The case is in court
He insisted that since the matter is in court, it will be proper to allow the court to adjudicate on it adding, “Whoever is the president of Nigeria who becomes so legally sworn in, I will give him the respect. The person should act as the president of Nigeria.”
Onayekan described the presidential election as perhaps the first election that Nigerians had high expectations. “Until now, Nigerians did not have trust in the electoral process. People believe that this time around the election will be an opportunity for Nigeria to have real change. INEC raised the hopes of Nigerians”
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Catholic Bishops Conference
He recalled that the Catholic Bishops Conference raised caution about the issue of technology and the way INEC went about promoting it. “We said that we should not rely on technology alone and that the only thing that can guarantee a free and fair election is an honest management of technology,” he said.
While insisting the last is yet to be heard about the election, he said, “I want Nigerians to continue to believe it’s not the end of the day. Continue to believe Nigeria can make it. No matter how the court cases go, it is important for us to admit that something has gone wrong. Thank God Prof. Mahmoud Yakubu agreed there were issues with the election which of course the winners don’t have to agree. There were issues about the election that brought them in.
“I think it would have been better not to keep saying this was the best election we ever had in Nigeria. It flies in the face of reality. If we are able to agree that something went wrong with the elections both the winners and losers can then begin looking at the issues.”
Trust the Supreme Court
Despite the misgivings about the judicial system, Onayekan urged Nigerians to still put their trust in the court. “Obi is full of conviction that the court will give him his right. A nation cannot lose confidence in its judiciary. We believe there are honourable men in the judiciary.” he said.
Onayekan stated that “a nation that decides to hobble along on an election that was not properly done will have prices to pay. Those who will pay the prices are the people of Nigeria starting with the poorest in the country.”
He counseled that all court cases must be concluded before the inauguration urging whoever becomes the legal president of Nigeria to carry everybody along.