By Eseoghene Emuke
The Bishop of the Sapele Diocese of Anglican Communion in Delta State, Rt Revd Blessing Erifeta has charged Nigerians to vote for personality with pedigree rather than political parties in the forthcoming general elections in the interest of moving the country forward.
Bishop Erifeta stated this at the end of a communion service to mark the 10 years anniversary of the Diocese of Sapele at the St. Paul Anglican Church, Osubi in Okpe Local Government Area of Delta State.
Erifeta, who is the first bishop of the Sapele Diocese, said the church in the last ten years had witnessed both spiritual and physical growth, and thanked members of the diocese for their continued support to the expansion of the diocese.
He noted that the diocese which was created from the Warri Diocese began with 27 clerics but as at today the number has increased to 98 to meet the pastoral needs of the diocese.
While speaking on the 2019 general elections, The Bishop said the era of voting for political parties rather than the pedigree of the candidates seeking for elective positions should be jettisoned by Nigerians in the forthcoming polls.
The cleric particularly charged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to leave above board in the 2019 general elections by ensuring that the votes of Nigerians count, stressing that the exercise must be free, fair and credible to restore electoral confidence on the system.
Erifeta also appealed to Nigerians to avoid political violence at the poll, stressing that Nigerians would only vote for candidates who have the interest of moving the country forward irrespective of their tribe or political lineage in the forthcoming elections.
According to him, “My message that everybody should carry Jesus along as they go to the voting booth. Let the fear of God be in every man. Let everyman goes there and perform his civic duties. Nigerians should vote for personality and not for party. The time of party is gone. Nigeria is in dare need of people that will liberate this country.
“Nigerians should vote for candidates who can remove this country from this bondage. Vote for credible candidate irrespective of whatever party they belong in as far they have what it takes to free this country from its numerous challenges.
“Until Nigerians allow God to take His place in this 2019 general elections, there won’t be free and fair elections. What they call credible elections in Nigeria in the real sense, they are not credible. They are results of arranged by INEC and some influential politicians. What they call free elections can’t be classified as ‘good.’
“What they are now doing in today’s politics is ‘executive rigging.’ They have left ‘thuggery rigging’. This executive rigging lies between who is who in society and some INEC officials. Until that stigma is removed, don’t think of any credible elections. It is will humans that will make the exercise credible, free and fair. The credibility of the 2019 general elections is with us (Nigerians) including the politicians and INEC.”
Speaking on the crisis rocking the diocese over call by some parishioners for his resignation, Bishop Erifeta hinted that peace has returned to the diocese saying that the allegations leveled against had no iota of truth.
“The allegations against me in the first place were lies but I can tell you that peace has returned. Our primate (Anglican Primate) has been handling the issue and it has yielding fruits. If we love God, we should work for the unity of his body which is the church. I hold no grudges against anyone. That stage is gone. We are in a stage of peace and love”. He added.