The Catholic Archbishop Emeritus, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has expressed the fear that Nigerians might be expecting too much from the President-elect, General MuhammaduBuhari when he assumes office saying change is gradual.
In a statement, he said: “Yet sincerely, I think we are expecting too much too soon. Change will come but it will be gradual but surely.
“It will amount to putting the cart before the horse to expect radical revolution from the General.
“We must exercise patience and give him chance to deliver on his promises. What he needs more than anything is our support, cooperation, collaboration and goodwill,” he said.
Cardinal Okogie urged Gen. Buhari to focus on providing quality governance on assuming office, and pay less attention to distractions.
Okogie’s advice came as the Labour Party also urged the All Progressives Congress (APC) to avoid chasing shadows but concentrate on transforming their promises into reality once it assumes office.
Cardinal Okogie advised the President-elect to adhere to the blueprint and road-map of his party that had brought about growth and development in the states where they had been implemented.
“It is heartening to know that he has made anti-corruption campaign the metier of his administration.
“In order for this not to run out of steam, he must build institutions, both formal and informal, that will fight corruption and ensure Nigeria becomes a society of law abiding citizens.
“His transition team and board of advisers should shun the temptation to secure their selfish interest and come up with pragmatic action plan that will help the president-elect realise his goal,’’ he said.
The cleric said that the task ahead of the President-elect was enormous and appealed to him to explore available economic and social opportunities in rebuilding the nation.
“ More than anything, the Gen. Buhari-led government must run an inclusive government of credible people with requisite competence that will ensure that no part of the country is left behind,’’ he said.
According to him, Buhari must do so bearing in mind the fact that he will preside over a nation that comprises people who voted for him, people who did not vote for him and people who did not vote at all.
“He must ensure that no group, class, gender or religion is discriminated against politically, economically, socially and infrastructurally.
“This is the watershed moment to break the walls of ethnicity, elitism and religious bigotry that has continued to polarise the fragile unity of our nation.
“He has a duty to turn the nation into a bridge in which every person, irrespective of his background and orientation, would see the state as a collaborator and an ally through which his dreams and ambitions can be realised,” he said.
“Nigeria seems to be on a collision course with destiny and the hopes of many are hanging in the balance. I can understand the sense of urgency and expediency in the expectations of Nigerians.
The cleric assured the President-elect of continuous prayers and support where necessary.
“I reassure the President- elect of our prayers and spiritual solicitude, we look forward to seeing a President that will be the Nelson Mandela and the Le Kuan Yew of Nigeria.
“A President that will deliver the dividends of democracy, a President that will respect the rule of law and follow due processes in prosecuting his agenda.
“A President that will be a father to all Nigerians, irrespective of their colour, tongue, tribe, class or political party; a president who will be a statesman to the core.
“A President that will be a comfort of the afflicted, hope of the despondent and the symbol of unity of the divergent Nigeria. That is the President that Nigeria needs and deserves,’’ he said. (NAN)
A statement issued by the National Secretary of the party, Barrister KayodeAjulo, said: “It is quite unfortunate that a party that should be more interested in strategizing on how to transform its campaign promises to reality is busy chasing shadows and pursuing frivolities. If the APC or any other group and their hirelings have evidence of wrong-doings on the part of the out-going government of President Jonathan, it is rather more Honourable to produce or publish such instead of engaging in slanderous and baseless accusation.”
“We are particularly miffed by such claim that Jonathan’s government is recruiting workers. The first question that should interest all is: are the people being employed not Nigerians? Secondly, are they not qualified for the posts? And lastly, is due process not being followed? This is important because the APC needs to be reminded that government and the civil service is a continuum and there is no reason why government activities, including recruitment exercises should be halted simply because there is going to be a change of baton.”
“We are equally worried that such baseless claims could actually be basis for retrenchment of workers in public service when the APC government takes over come May 29. If anything at all, Nigerians are expecting the APC government to create more jobs and also improve the conditions of Nigerian workers. There should be no excuse to short-change the Nigerian workers and the ordinary masses in anyway. APC did not promise Nigerians austerity and lack of jobs. It gave hope to the people, and this is the time to reap. That is not miracle. That is the only way Nigerians can make meaning out of the so-called common sense revolution. ”
He called on the President-elect and his aides to show respect for freedom of speech and exhibit tolerance, saying: “We condemn in totality the attempt to gag AIT as this is seen as a dress rehearsal to bring the dreaded and infamous Decree 4 into our jurisprudence once again.
“The extant Constitution is clear on the freedom given to our media as well as other Nigerians”
“Labour Party commends the APC for quickly rising to the occasion to correct the unedifying ban on the coverage of the President-elect’s activities by Africa Independent Television (AIT), it is clear from unfolding events that a lot still needs to be done to transform the dictator of yesteryears to a modern democrat”, he said.