August 9, 2023. Peoples Gazette – The body of Catholic bishops of the Owerri ecclesiastical province has called on the judiciary to rise to the occasion and rescue the nation’s “ailing” democracy.
The clerics’ call forms part of the communique issued at the end of their two-day meeting at the Umuahia Diocesan secretariat and made available to newsmen on Wednesday.
They described the judiciary as the nation’s “hope at the moment.”
The six-point communique was jointly signed by the archbishop of the province, Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji, and the bishop of Aba, Most Rev. Augustine Echema, as chairman and secretary, respectively.
The clergymen decried the pitfalls that allegedly characterised the 2023 general elections.
According to them, the results of the polls could hardly be considered as reflecting the overall will of the people.
They blamed the Independent National Electoral Commission and some political actors for the alleged irregularities in the electoral process, which “dashed the hopes of the people”.
“What our people boldly needed this year was a transparent electoral process that would march their enthusiasm for a new democratic dispensation and provide renewed hope and confidence in our political process.
“Unfortunately, this was not to be,” the bishops said.
They also expressed worry over the worsening insecurity in the country, pointing out that the situation had led to scores of deaths of innocent citizens, security personnel, traditional rulers, priests and religious, amongst others.
“The number of violent crimes, such as kidnapping, ritual killing, carjacking, ethnic clashes, armed banditry and the like, has increased and become commonplace experience in different parts of the country.
The bishops said they could no longer close their eyes to the indiscriminate sit-at-home orders which, they said, had so far disrupted lives, paralysed economic, educational and commercial activities in the South-East.
They called on the enforcers of the order to sheathe their swords and come to agree on the way forward for the region.