By Uche Amunike
The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF), has accused the Bishop Emeritus of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, of being a great threat to humanity by using religion to preach hatred.
This assertion was made by the National President of the AYCF, Yerima Shettima, who condemned Cardinal John Onaiyekan’s comments which concerned the conduct of the 2023 general election and how the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmoud Yakubu, misled Nigerians by not being honest about how the results of the polls came about.
Onaiyekan accused Yakubu of not being sincere with Nigerians even when he knew that things did not go well and insisted that the truth should prevail, even as the opposition was challenging the victory of President Bola Tinubu in court.
Shettima condemned the clergyman’s comments and described them as dishonest and pretentious. He made this disclosure in a statement signed by him, where he insisted that Mahmoud Yakubu is committed to upholding the law.
He further stated: ‘True men of God are expected to preach salvation and not preach selective partisanship behind the garb of religion as is the case of Onaiyekan.’
He condemned Cardinal John Onaiyekan’s comments about Yakubu misleading Nigerians and being dishonest in the conduct of their elections, referring to it as a blatant attempt to misuse the pulpit to promote the interests of the opposition Labour Party.
Hear him: ‘His comments about the prevailing court suit filed by the opposition challenging the electoral victory of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is part of a sinister plot by pretenders to hide behind the glory of the church to further the dubious political agenda of certain interests.’
He maintained that rather than hide behind the garb of religion to play politics, Onaiyekan should leave the pulpit for real men of God and pursue partisan politics.
His words: ‘It is unjust and unfair to accuse Yakubu of any wrongdoing, as he went to great lengths to ensure that the exercise was the most transparent and credible in Nigeria’s history.’
He explained that Yakubu was transparent and fair in the extensive preparations that were made by INEC for the polls. He further cited that INEC implemented many reforms, which included the introduction of new technologies like electronic voting machines and biometric voter registration. These measures, he said, where aimed at eliminating voter fraud, ensuring the credibility of the entire process and enhancing the accuracy of the electoral roll. According to him, Yakubu, through a proactive approach, showed his dedication to conducting a transparent and fair election.
His words: ‘Yakubu’s efforts to promote inclusivity and equal representation further highlight his commitment to fairness.’
‘INEC, under Yakubu’s leadership, embarked on a comprehensive voter education campaign to ensure that all eligible citizens were aware of their rights and responsibilities. This campaign targeted marginalized communities, rural areas, and traditionally underrepresented groups, aiming to bridge the gap in political participation. By actively engaging with these communities, Yakubu demonstrated his commitment to ensuring that every citizen had an equal opportunity to exercise their democratic rights.’
He continued: ‘Furthermore, Yakubu’s emphasis on the independence of INEC showcases his dedication to upholding the principles of fairness and credibility. He consistently advocated for the autonomy of the commission, resisting external pressures and interference.’
‘This commitment to independence allowed INEC to operate without bias or favoritism, ensuring that the electoral process remained impartial and transparent. Yakubu’s unwavering stance against external influence demonstrates his integrity and commitment to conducting a just election.’