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Arewa network knocks Cardinal Onaiyekan over comments on INEC

The Northern Emancipation Network (NEN) has cautioned religious leaders against making provocative and unguarded statements capable of dragging the country into unnecessary conflict and anarchy.…

The Northern Emancipation Network (NEN) has cautioned religious leaders against making provocative and unguarded statements capable of dragging the country into unnecessary conflict and anarchy.

NEN specifically expressed its disapproval of the comments made by Bishop Emeritus of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, against the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu.

Onaiyekan had slammed Yakubu for misleading Nigerians and not being honest in the conduct of the 2023 elections.

The Cardinal accused Yakubu of not telling Nigerians the truth, when he knew things didn’t go well.

The cleric, however, insisted that the truth should prevail even as the opposition was challenging President Bola Tinubu’s victory in the court.

Condemning the clergyman, NEN, in a statement by its chairman, Suleiman Abbah, said: “The Cardinal’s statement, made before President Tinubu’s inauguration, suggested that he should not be sworn in until after the court’s judgment, contrary to constitutional provisions.

“He Cardinal is now attacking the INEC Chairman personally and accusing the President of certificate forgery on the eve of the Supreme Court’s appeal.”

NEN said the INEC Chairman had demonstrated a commitment to ensuring credible elections, which a deliberate critic, rather than a cleric, would acknowledge.

“Firstly, the appropriateness of a religious figure engaging in partisan politics, is questionable. The acceptable position is that religious leaders should maintain neutrality and refrain from endorsing or criticizing specific political figures or parties. By openly condemning the electoral process and attacking the INEC Chairman, Onaiyekan has compromised his impartiality and credibility as a spiritual leader.

“Secondly, the timing of the Cardinal’s comments are strategically aimed at influencing the Supreme Court’s appeal. This raises concerns about his motives and whether his statements are driven by personal or political interests rather than a genuine concern for justice and fairness. Such behavior undermines the trust and respect that society places in religious leaders,” Abbah said.

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