Methodist Prelate cautions Ndigbo against boycotting 2019 elections

Methodist Prelate, Dr. Samuel Uche (middle)with other church leaders

The Most-Rev. Samuel Uche, the Prelate of Methodist Church, Nigeria, has said that it will be counterproductive for Ndigbo to boycott the 2019 general elections as canvassed by the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Uche said this during a press conference in Umuahia on Monday, adding that the people of the South-East did not stand to gain anything from boycotting the polls.

Kanu had insisted that Ndigbo should not take part in the general elections but instead called for a referendum to have the Republic of Biafra.

The cleric said, “I do not like the idea of Ndigbo boycotting the general elections. It would amount to shooting ourselves in the foot.”
He said that if Ndigbo boycotted the elections, other sections of Nigeria would still go ahead to elect leaders for the country during the polls.

He said that what Nigeria needed as a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious country, “is a mature leader not a bigot”.

He urged Nigerians to elect leaders, who would be ready to unite the various segments of the country in order to achieve a homogeneous nation.

He also admonished the political class to promote things that would help to unite Nigeria.

The prelate dismissed the speculation that there was an agenda to Islamise the country, saying that it was practically untenable to “Islamise or Christianise” Nigeria.

He said that Nigeria is a secular nation and that every Nigerian should be free to worship and belong to any religion of their choice.

On the 2019 polls, he appealed to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct credible, free and fair elections so that votes would count.

“INEC must ensure fairness in the conduct of the elections. Let the best candidate win, irrespective of his or her political party.

“All I want is credible elections. Any person that won should be declared, whether Muslim of Christian.

“There should not be any intimidation by security operatives and manipulation of results. Let the votes count,” the clergyman said.

He warned that candidates who failed to address the problems of insecurity, unemployment, salaries and pensions as well as general poverty should not be re-elected.

The prelate, who was on a one-week tour of Abia, also spoke on his impression about the state.

“About the roads, there is nothing to write home about. There are no access roads to the communities, most of which are agrarian.”

He cited the Amudo-Itumbuzo Road in Bende Local Government Area of the state, which he said was in a terrible state of disrepair.

He charged Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu to take immediate steps to put the roads in good condition in order to enable the farmers to move their produce to the cities.

He also called for the prompt payment of workers’ salaries and pensions, adding that the government should also tackle the menace of filth in major towns and cities.

Uche described the discharge and empowerment of 29 inmates of the Methodist-owned Mentally-ill Persons Home at Amudo-Itumbuzo as one of the major highpoints of his visit.

He said that the inmates were fully treated and trained in different trades, including tailoring, carpentry, hair dressing, poultry, soap and pomade making shoe mending, among others.

He said that the church provided them cash and tools to start businesses before discharging them to their families.