• “Gone are those days when people vote based on the political party fielding the candidate”
The President, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), His Eminence Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, has said Nigerians will not use political party as a deciding factor in the choice of candidate to succeed the President Muhammadu Buhari after his tenure in 2023.
According to him, Nigerians have gone beyond casting their votes based on the political party fielding candidates.
The Archbishop, who stated this while delivering the sermon at the 2022 International Men’s Conference of Christ Holy Church International in Abuja on Sunday, insisted that the electorate, particularly the Christians will vote for candidates in the next general elections using their current capacities and antecedents as criteria.
The sermon was entitled, ‘By Faith, Give Leadership’.
According to him, “It is important that people of God at this time should have their eyes open. Before casting your votes, make sure you know the people you are giving your votes.
“In Nigeria, things are beginning to change. Gone are those days when people vote based on the political party fielding the candidate; when once you have the ticket of a particular party, you are covered.
“Today, people are looking at individuals, their credibility, character, experience, capacities and antecedents in relation to the positions they want to occupy.”
The CAN President decried the menace of vote-buying in the country’s electoral system, saying the people must begin to interrogate the plans and programmes of politicians before deciding who will get their mandate for the next four years.
He, however, cautioned politicians against making false promises to amass the people’s vote.
He said, “Nigerians have come to a point where they feel that they need to sit down and negotiate with the presidential and governorship candidates.
“We must ask them: ‘What is our portion in your administration (if elected)?’ They should be able to convince you before you can cast their votes for them. Nobody should take away your future from you. Don’t let anyone give you money to buy your conscience and four years of joy.
“To the people who are in politics, when you are making promises, make sure you are telling the people what you can fulfil.
“There’s no need promising us you can give us heaven on earth when you know that given the realities on the ground you cannot be able to fulfill it.”
Okoh, who doubles as the General Superintendent of Christ Holy Church International, also raised the alarm over the use of youths for political thuggery, noting that the development portended danger for the nation’s democracy.
He said, “Our youths should not allow themselves to be used as political thugs. The era of thuggery in our electoral system is over. They must positively participate in the political process. I am saying with a sense of duty that our youths must not give in to electoral violence.
“We must expand the space to inject new ideas into the systems. The world is moving on, and Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind.”
The CAN President described Nigeria as one of the best places to live in, because of the liberties the people enjoy compared to the citizens of other nations.
“Nigeria, for me, is one of the best places to live in. I love Nigeria, and we must put our collective freedom to good use,” he said.
The cleric noted that the problems facing Christians were not peculiar to Nigeria, but tasked the body of Christ to demonstrate leadership by providing hope to the rest of the country by faith in God.
He explained, “The Church is under attack, but not only in Nigeria. Globally, the truth is under attack.
“There’s no generation that had not had its own challenges. We are facing ours and must find a way to wriggle ourselves out of it.
“Some many things polarise the people at this time, but as Christians, we need to always stand together, knowing that we serve the same Lord and share in the same heritage.
“It is our unity and oneness that gives us the force to contend with whatever that opposes our very existence. When we are together, as people of God, there’s nothing we cannot conquer. Together, we can give a sense of security to our nation.
“In this (election) season, the Christians are going to provide leadership by faith, but with our two eyes opened.
“There is a miracle waiting to happen in this country and it will surely become a reality.
We should not put our trust in man.”
US surgeons report longest successful pig-to-human kidney transplant
WASHINGTON: United States surgeons who transplanted a genetically modified kidney into a brain-dead patient announced on Thursday (Sep 14) that they had ended their experiment after a record-breaking 61 days.
The latest experimental procedure is part of a growing field of research aimed at advancing cross-species transplants, mainly testing the technique on bodies that have been donated for science.
There are more than 103,000 people waiting for organ transplants in the US, 88,000 of whom need kidneys.
“We have learned a great deal throughout these past two months of close observation and analysis, and there is great reason to be hopeful for the future,” said Robert Montgomery, director of the New York University Langone Transplant Institute, who led the surgery in July.
It was the fifth so-called xenotransplant performed by Montgomery, who also carried out the world’s first genetically modified pig kidney transplant in September 2021.
Tissue collected during the study indicated a mild rejection process had begun, requiring intensification of immunosuppression medication.
By “knocking out” the gene responsible for a biomolecule called alpha-gal – a prime target for roving human antibodies – the NYU Langone team were able to stop immediate rejection.
The donor pig in this experiment came from a herd cultivated by Virginia-based biotech company Revivicor.
The herd has also been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a source of meat for people with hypersensitivity to the alpha-gal molecule, an allergy caused by some tick bites.
These pigs are bred, not cloned, meaning the process can be more easily scaled.
Early xenotransplantation research focused on harvesting organs from primates – for example, a baboon heart was transplanted into a newborn known as “Baby Fae” in 1984, but she survived only 20 days.
Current efforts focus on pigs, which are thought to be ideal donors for humans because of their organ size, their rapid growth and large litters, and the fact they are already raised as a food source.
In January 2022, surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical School carried out the world’s first pig-to-human transplant on a living patient – this time involving a heart.
He died two months after the milestone, with the presence of porcine cytomegalovirus in the organ later blamed.
Last week, Chinese scientists published a paper showing they had succeeded in hybrid pig-human kidneys in pig embryos, an alternative approach that also has the potential to one day help address organ donation shortages.
But the development raised ethical issues – especially since some human cells were also found in the pigs’ brains, experts said.
Female soldier guns down Captain in Adamawa
A female soldier enforcing the curfew imposed by Adamawa government has killed a senior colleague at a checkpoint in Yola, the state capital.
Governor Ahmadu Fintiri had imposed the curfew after hoodlums broke into government warehouses and looted several items, including palliatives meant to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy.
Daily Trust reports that the female soldier simply identified as Lance Corporal Nkiru shot a captain who tried to intervene in her altercation with civilians at Fire Service Roundabout in the state capital.
Security sources told Daily Trust that the female soldier had insisted that motorists returning home during the curfew hours must turn back.
Some of them had identified themselves as workers on essential duty but she stood her ground.
“Some people stopped at the checkpoint explained themselves as workers on essential duties but the female soldier insisted they must turn back. A captain came forward to intervene. Unfortunately she had already cocked her rifle, so she just fired and killed him accidentally,” a security officer said.
The victim was said to have been rushed to the Federal Medical Centre, Yola, where he was confirmed dead while the suspect was instantly arrested and whisked away by soldiers.
Daily Trust learnt that the female soldier has been severally accused of harassing civilians, cocking her rifle at the slightest provocation.
When the newspaper correspondent visited the headquarters of 23 Armoured Brigade Yola for confirmation, the Commander, Brigadier General Muhammad Gambo, sent a message that journalists must seek appointment in writing before he could speak to them.
Niger military junta arrests 180 politicians, office holders
The new military rulers of Niger, who took over the government in a coup last week, have detained at least l80 members of the ousted democratically elected administration, the previous ruling party said on Monday.
Energy Minister Mahamane Sani Mahamadou, Mines Minister Ousseini Hadizatou and the president of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS), Foumakoye Gado, were among those detained, PNDS spokesman Hamid N’Gadé said.
He added that Interior Minister Hama Adamou Souley, Transport Minister Oumarou Malam Alma and his deputy, Kalla Moutari, were also detained by the coup plotters.
The “abusive arrests” were evidence of “the repressive, dictatorial and unlawful behaviour” of the military, N’Gadé said.
On Wednesday, officers from General Omar Tchiani’s elite unit declared Niger’s democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum, of the PNDS, out of power.
Tchiani then appointed himself as the new ruler on Friday.
Shortly afterwards, the coup plotters suspended the West African country’s constitution and dissolved all constitutional institutions.
The coup has been internationally condemned.
The West African Community of States (ECOWAS) issued an ultimatum to the coup leaders on Sunday, saying that if Bazoum was not released and reinstated within a week, it would take measures that could include the use of force.
On Monday, the military governments of neighbouring Burkina Faso and Mali warned ECOWAS against intervening.
Any military intervention against Niger would be tantamount to a declaration of war against Burkina Faso and Mali, a joint statement by the two transitional governments said.
Military intervention could have disastrous consequences that could destabilise the entire sub-region, they said.
Burkina Faso and Mali are themselves ECOWAS members.
The European Union (EU) said it supported the ECOWAS measures, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on Monday.
Bazoum remains the sole head of state of the country and any other authority cannot be recognised, Borrell said.
Up until the coup, Niger, a former French colony, was seen as an anchor of democracy in the Sahel region, which has been ravaged by Islamist terrorism.
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