Francis Cardinal Arinze Francis Cardinal Arinze
Prefect of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Roman Curia
Cardinal Priest of S Giovanni della Pigna
Nov 01, 1932
May 25, 1985
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English Cardinal urges Nigerians to pray for success of elections
Jul 25, 2006
A top Vatican official has called on fellow Nigerians to pray for the success of the 2007 general elections.

Lagos, Nigeria (CNS, July 20,2006) -- "The 2007 elections portend ominous signs," Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, told journalists, church and state officials July 1 upon his arrival in Enugu, Nigeria.

The Nigerian-born cardinal said the inability of his homeland's leadership to enforce the constitution may jeopardize the forthcoming elections.

"Such laxity is responsible for the recurring breakdown of law and order in this country," Cardinal Arinze said.

The Independent National Electoral Commission has scheduled elections for April 7-28; incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo, elected in 1999, will end his second term in May.

The cardinal said the last seven years had seen both positive and negative trends.

"The country would have been one of the best democracies in the world if her potential had been properly harnessed," he said.

He called on Nigerians to pray that God would help them choose leaders that would lead the country in the right direction.

"Elections are to select those who would govern us. It matters very much what type of people govern us, because their decisions will affect other people, even generations not yet born," he said.

He urged the Independent National Electoral Commission and other agencies that would be involved in the elections to be fair and allow justice to prevail in their activities.

"You must be aware that it is a serious matter and (you) should, therefore, do your part so that people will vote for the person they think will meet their needs," the cardinal said.

"Those who win should not overcelebrate, but they should go and serve the people, while losers should accept the verdict because everybody cannot win the same seat at the same time," he said, adding that winners and losers should work for the good of the nation.
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