Onaiyekan: It Makes No Sense To Swear In 'riggers' Whose Cases Are In Court

“The elections are not over…. I’m still waiting for the courts to tell me who won the election”.

“The court is now on trial.” - Cardinal Onaiyekan 

Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Emeritus Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of Abuja, on Thursday, said that those who rigged the February 25, 2023, presidential and governorship elections in Nigeria know what they did and God knows them.

Onaiyekan who stated this while featuring on a Channels TV programme, noted that though the courts and tribunals sitting on various election petitions before them may not know those who rigged the elections, he insisted that God knows them and they (election riggers) know themselves.

The cleric also said winners of elections that are being contested in court should not be sworn in until the conclusion of the matter.

“The election is not yet over. There are cases in court that have not been disposed of. That is why we are in an anomalous situation; we have a declared President-elect whose result is being challenged, and the court is handling it.

“I am entitled to take the position that I am still waiting for the court to determine who won the election.

“I am one of those who have been saying that it does not make much sense to swear in people when they are still in court.

“We have to review the election process to ensure we have a winner who will be sworn in and everybody would rally around.

“I can’t understand; I am not a legal man or judge; it is a pity that it is taking too long for the Court to make up their mind on this matter,” he said.

Bola Tinubu, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress was declared the winner of the presidential election conducted on February 25, 2023.

His victory is being challenged in court by some of his challengers in the election including Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party.

Onaiyekan said there are countries that don't want to call and hear the name of God yet they are doing the right thing and organising the affairs of their nations well. He, however, regretted that Nigerians who call on the name of God have refused to follow God's precept to do the right thing.

"You know when you are doing the right thing and when you are doing the bad thing. Those who rigged the election know they rigged the election. Those who didn't allow the people's will to prevail, they know it.

“Those who have heated up the polity, they know it in their heart of heart. The wonderful thing is that God himself know them, we may not know, even the court may not know but God knows them and they know themselves.

"So, the more we mention God, the more we should be on guard not to be found using the name of God in vain. There are countries who don't want to mention God but they are running their affairs well. But if we decide to keep mentioning God, we must run our affairs according to God's will otherwise we end up giving God a bad name. God forbid.

"I am now talking as a Cardinal; I want to ask my fellow countrymen; we should not apologise for the fact that we keep God constantly in our prayers and in our national life. We can't throw God away. That means we must run our affairs and live our lives according to God's will and we cannot pretend we don't know what God wants from all of us."

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