EMERITUS Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has said all eyes were on the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal to finish the job the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, did ‘halfway’ during the February 25 election.
Speaking to journalists after a special mass to mark the 2023 World Communications Week of the Catholic Church at St. Gabriel’s Chaplaincy in Abuja yesterday, the respected cleric called on the judiciary to find a way to allow live telecast of the petition tribunal, even though it had not been done before.
Onaiyekan stated that as the petition tribunal proceeds, Nigerians were waiting with bathed breath to see what the outcome would be.
“All eyes are on the court. We tried our best to vote; we were told to go to court. We are now in court, all eyes are on the court. We have trust in the court that they finish the job that INEC did halfway,” he said.
Onaiyekan emphasized the importance of transparency in the process and argued that if witnesses had anything to say that people shouldn’t know, they shouldn’t be saying it.
He said: “It is in the interest of the judiciary to allow the people see what is happening, even if it means adjusting their rules.
“Voters don’t have the locus standi in court to challenge election outcomes. The matter is left to the candidates. That’s why it’s important that the court proceedings are seen live on TV.”
On the topic of communications, the Emeritus Archbishop noted that it was essential for resolving conflicts and building relationships.
“The social media has come into the picture. You cannot ignore it anymore. Communications is meant to build and not to destroy; to unite and not divide; to entertain and not to sadden. This is what we are praying for today,” he said.
Speaking during the special mass, the National Director of Social Communications, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Very Rev. Fr. Michael Umoh, echoed this sentiment, describing Christ as the grand communicator of God to humanity.
He said because the Church was an extension of the mission of Christ, it was the reason “every Christian must strive to develop the skill of being an effective communicator after the model of Jesus, the perfect communicator.”