NIGERIA: ‘God knows if there was any foul play or not,’ Cardinal Oniayekan Casts Doubt on Presidential Petition, Urges People to Support Tinubu

By Paschal Norbert

ABUJA, NOVEMBER 3, 2023 (CISA)- Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan, Metropolitan Archbishop emeritus of Abuja, Nigeria, has appealed to the people to support the government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu despite the contentious Supreme Court ruling that upheld his election on October 26.

“Bola Ahmed Tinubu is our President for the next four years. This means that he now has to face his work – to rule the nation and rule it well, with peace, freedom, security and prosperity. May God guide and guard him in this onerous task,” said Cardinal Onaiyekan in his concluding remarks during a homily at the Church of Assumption, Asokoro, on October 29.

“As good citizens, we should support his good efforts. But for the same reason as responsible citizenship, we should not hesitate to hold him accountable for any failure. The president has now a confirmed election victory. But sovereignty still remains with the people, with their fundamental human and civic rights intact. They have not become the property of Mr. President. He must serve the people, all the people, without discrimination, partiality or bias,” he added.

On October 26, a seven-member Supreme Court bench upheld the election of President Tinubu, thereby dismissing the opposition’s challenges of fraud and electoral law breaches during the election. The historic judgement ended months of legal battles over the presidential race in which Tinubu, a 71-year-old former governor of Lagos, was elected president in February in the closest race in Nigeria’s modern history.

He won 37 percent of the vote, ahead of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar and the Labour Party’s Peter Obi.

According to the cardinal, a former Co-Moderator of Religions for Peace International, many people are still aggrieved by the Supreme Court decision. He maintains the matter of the handling of the February elections remains largely in dispute.

“It seems that the substantive issue of whether the Presidential election was well done or not still remains in serious dispute. But God knows if there was any foul play or not. His judgment stands over and above all human tribunals, which, being human, are never infallible. All the human actors in this drama – winner, losers and judges – must now face the judgement of God – who is all just and all-merciful,” the Nigerian cardinal stated.

In a sarcastic way while urging the faithful to support the current regime and to continue praying for their leaders, Cardinal Onaiyekan said “As Christians, we firmly believe that all power belongs to God. Human rulers hold power that belongs to God. No matter how they acquire it, whether by accident of birth, as in a hereditary monarchy, or the barrel of the gun, as in a successful military coup, or by-election, whether rigged or not rigged and however they use power, they will give a full account of every action. This is all the more reason why we pray for our rulers, at all levels.”

“As for us citizens, we should continue to do our best to move our nation forward. Let us remember that for over 30 years, we survived under regimes and juntas that did not go through any elections. We pray that the right lessons may be learned from the tensions of the past months. We cannot continue to deceive ourselves. If our nation is to truly move forward, we must be ready to embrace the true values of democracy, with utmost sincerity and transparent integrity,” the former archbishop of Abuja stated.