Bishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon of the Diocese of Kaduna (Anglican Communion) yesterday applauded the choice of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to use the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) card reader in the forthcoming general elections, saying it is a step in the right direction to reduce rigging of the election.
Although the bishop agreed that the card reader may not be able to completely rule out the possibility of rigging, he said if used, it will at least reduce rigging tendencies to the barest minimum and give some level of credibility to the election process.
Bishop Idowu-Fearon who stated this in an interview he granted newsmen at the Cathedral of St. Micheal, Kaduna, shortly after the Service of Collation of Archdeacons, also averred that Nigerians are devilishly creative and could do anything to mar the process.
He, however, said the challenges associated with the planned use of the card reader may be there, but calling for its abandonment will amount to an insult to the generality of Nigerians.
On the choice of who to vote, he said Nigerians must engage in serious thinking and soul-searching to avoid any mistake in the choice of who to vote, adding, “your choice of who you vote may become a blessing or a curse.”
While urging eligible voters to exercise their franchise, he said issues such as unemployment, insecurity, power and corruption should be given serious consideration in the choice of who to vote in the coming elections at all levels.
“The choice of who to vote should be issues-based not on the basis of what we see on the television which is meant to brainwash people.
“Our choice of who to vote should not be based on religious sentiments; we should vote based on competence and try to play down the politics of ethnicity and religion.
“Nigerians must stop praying for the election; we should instead ensure that we actively participate in all the processes of the election, collect our PVCs and exercise our franchise on the days of the elections,” he said.
Speaking on the alleged N7billion scandal rocking the Church, he said there cannot be smoke without fire, adding that if there are Christian clerics who partook in the sharing of the money allegedly given to the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) by President Goodluck Jonathan to canvass for votes for him, such clerics should come out and confess to God and the Christian community.
Bishop Idowu-Fearon said, “There is no smoke without fire, and I thank God the allegation is not against the Anglican Church.”
He said there is nothing wrong with an offender making confession after committing an offence for God to forgive him or her.
This was even as he pointed out that President Jonathan is surrounded by bad advisers who are only being hypocritical without telling the president the truth about the progress or retrogression of the country.
Rivers State governor Rotimi Amaechi had recently alleged that President Goodluck Jonathan gave pastors across the country N6billion to vote against the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari in the 2015 presidential election.
A Borno-born pastor, Musa Dikwa, however said the actual amount given was N7billion and each state chapter of CAN got N3million.
Governor Amaechi’s allegation caused uproar among the Christian clerics, with the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) and the Northern States Christian Elders Forum (NOSCEF) asking Amaechi to name the church leaders who collected the N6billion.
However, Bishop Idowu-Fearon insisted, “If you accuse me of sleeping with your wife, and it is true, I should be able to confess to God first before confessing to human beings; so, those who collected the said money should make confession to God and to the Christian community”.
“ But if it is not true, I should ask God to forgive you, it is good to be humble and ask God for forgiveness whenever you go wrong “.
He however urged members of the congregation to vote for the right candidate during the forthcoming election, saying, “ If you vote for a wrong candidate, you have committed sin “.