Presiding Bishop of the Winners' Chapel, Dr. David Oyedepo, has said the ghost of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election will continue to haunt self-styled military president, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, for life.
The cleric said Nigerians are wiser than Babangida and have not forgotten the pains he inflicted on them through the cancellation of the polls adjudged to have been won by the late business mogul, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale (M.K.O.) Abiola.Also, the Methodist Bishops in Nigeria rose yesterday from a three-day conference in Kaduna condemning Babangida's interest in the 2011 presidential election. In a statement signed by the Prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde and the Conference Secretary, Rev. Raphael Opoko, the church said Babangida's move to lead the country under a democratic setting was an insult on Nigerians. They said Babangida's annulment of the freest and fairest election Nigeria ever conducted led to the death and misery of millions of Nigerians. In a message to mark the church 29th anniversary last Sunday at Faith Tabernacle, Canaanland, Ota in Ogun State, Oyedepo said there is no amount of repackaging that can make any difference or change Nigerians' perception of Babangida as "an anti-democratic person." He said: "Babangida is anti-democratic. There is no repackaging of this man than can change anything. You cannot repackage Babangida and Babangida cannot be repackaged. If you mention the name Babangida any day, Nigerians will remember the annulment of June 12 presidential election." Turning to the congregation, Oyedepo said "if there is anyone in this church that associates with Babangida, you must retrace your steps immediately. This is an order not a plea. If any member of this church in any part of the world is found associating with Babangida, he will be taken for deliverance because only insane people can follow him." Oyedepo continued: "If there is anyone that sees Babangida, please tell him that I (Oyedepo ) says he is wasting his time. If the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) or any other party thinks that Babangida is the person they have to present to Nigerians, then such a party is heading for doom." The cleric also spoke on corruption in the polity. According to him, there is no prosperous thief anywhere in the world. No matter the billions anyone steals, he is sick and stinks. Upon the billions the late head of state, Gen. Sani Abacha and his family stole, the name Abacha stinks. Only those blessed by God are prosperous. Money does not empower anybody like the blessings of God. It is one thing to have riches and another thing to enjoy them. Politicians, who claim to be empowering Nigerians are liars. They steal so much but don't live to enjoy their loot." Makinde, who addressed journalists after the 28th yearly conference of the Methodist bishops, said it was during the tenure of Babangida that corruption became a status symbol among Nigerian leaders. In a 12-point statement, the bishops sought autonomy for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) so that the 2011 elections will be hitch-free. The cleric also condemned "any form of religious intolerance still evident in ... part of the country, especially in Jos, Plateau State and remind governors of other states to remember that Nigeria is a multi-religious and secular country."On the forthcoming elections, the council called on the Federal Government to carry out electoral reforms and review the voters' register to enable all eligible Nigerians to exercise their franchise. Makinde said: "The news of the declaration of the former military dictator, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida that he will run for the presidency of the country at the forthcoming elections is an insult to the generality of Nigerians because President Ibrahim Babaginda annulled the freest and fairest elections held in Nigeria in 1993 which led to the death and misery of millions of Nigerians."Council noted that it was during his tenure that the level of corruption was raised to the level which has almost sunk the country," he said.