President of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and Archbishop of Owerri Metropolitan, Luicius Ugorji, has criticized election in Imo, Bayelsa and Kogi states and the brutalisation of the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero, saying it is an indication that the people have learnt nothing.
“I have never ceased to ask whoever cares, if we have learnt anything at all since 1999, when we started the current political engineering.” Ugorji said this on Sunday, November 12 at a during a pastoral visit to Christ The King Parish, Owerri, Imo State.
“Just yesterday (Saturday), I asked a few people, if they were going to cast their votes during the off-cycle gubernatorial election and a number of them said they would not. They hinged their reason on the outcome of the February 13 polls and the judicial decisions
“The police, army, Department of State Services (DSS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other security outfits, came into the state in their numbers. Helicopters kept keeping surveillance from the air.
They were supposed to ensure there was no violence in the state. This gave us a measure of hope, which sadly failed again. If the commentaries that followed the poll, is anything to be reckoned with, then, we have not learnt anything in Nigeria.
“Voting during all elections, remains a civic responsibility. People should be allowed to vote freely, without intimidation, coercion, killing or maiming.
We have had this democratic engineering for 25 years, but what have we achieved? We should be free to determine who should rule or represent us at whatever level.
While public office holders should know that power is transitory, our youths should resist the temptation of offering themselves as canon fodder or thugs,” he said.
Addressing the recent brutalisation of the NLC president, Ugorji said:
“It is condemnable to mercilessly beat up, manhandle or brutalise the NLC president, as has been variously reported in the media.
“A more civilised way of handling whatever alleged sin, the NLC President may have committed, would have been to allow the laws of the land to take its full course. Resort to self help was not the best option.
“It is equally condemnable for labour to inflict hardship on hapless, innocent masses, which they are supposed to protect. There has not been public power supply to the ordinary citizens, since the NLC president was assaulted and brutalised.
“However, to add hardship on the masses that are already traumatised by the prevailing suffering in the land, is callous, unconscionable and uncharitable.
“Public power supply and flights to and from Imo State, have been cut off. The NLC should have mercy on the people. Some businesses have collapsed since the impasse commenced. The common man did not do anything to warrant the terror inflicted on them by Labour.
“NLC should allow the masses to breathe and survive the hard times. The people are not supposed to suffer for the sins of others.