Ahead of the 2023 general elections, Christians, especially Catholic Faithful, have been urged to participate actively, in order to elect credible leaders and enthrone good governance.
Speaking, Thursday, during 3rd Abuja Archdiocesan General Assembly (AAGA), the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Reverend Ignatius A. Kaigama, said that the inability to realize meaningful change in our socio-political and economic environment is as a result of the culture of corruption and very poor governance, coupled with untamed political, religious and ethnic sentiments.”
He said: “As Nigeria prepares for general elections in the first quarter of 2023, we have chosen as the theme of our assembly, “Witness in Politics: The Role of the Catholic Faithful” believing that the next political dispensation should be about transparency, accountability and responsibility. The politics of bitterness, unhealthy personality clashes, manipulation, etc., have become deeply entrenched in our country.
“The inability to realise meaningful change in our socio-political and economic environment is as a result of the culture of corruption and very poor governance, coupled with untamed political, religious and ethnic sentiments.
“To reverse this unfortunate trend, there is the need for a complete change in the way we do politics. If the primary purpose of politicking is to win elections, then the justifiable end is to govern well.
“The political parties should, therefore, be forthcoming on how best they are to address the issues bedeviling our polity like insecurity, deteriorating public health and education, the current inflationary trends, resulting in high living conditions, etc.
“Unfortunately, we have lived for so long under politics understood as manipulation, exclusion, greed and graft. Politics in Nigeria is considered as a business and is superior to probity! We tend to elect our worst and leave out the best and seem to view elections as a matter of ethnic and religious alliances. This should be disturbing to all well-meaning citizens.
“As Catholics, we engage in politics cognizant of the fact that: firstly, politics is important because it involves the use of power for the welfare of the people. Secondly, politics is limited because we are all sinners and even our best intentions are, sometimes, tainted by sin. As a result, we must constantly seek God’s face to make the society as good and as just as we can.
“Thirdly, our engagement in politics flows from our Catholic Social Teachings which provide us with something valuable to contribute to society. We, therefore, call on Catholics and indeed; all Christians to be aware of their own specific vocation within the political community and the need to defend our points of view by honest methods.”
Also speaking, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh, said that, in politics, Christians must occupy the political space and participate as the light in darkness; resisting all forms of intimidation.
He said: “Our Nation, Nigeria is currently passing through challenging times that require all hands be on deck in order to salvage it lest it descends into a state of anarchy. In making our contributions to national development one may ask: What kind of values do we bring to political positions? What inspires those who aspire to positions of political authority?
“What is the motivation? When people eventually get into positions of authority, whose interest do they serve? Who remains their master or who becomes their new master? We often see people who adopt their political self-interest as their religion. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, gives us identity – ‘You are the light of the world’. The life of witness, by those who are saved by the blood of Jesus, is to let men see our good works that they may glorify our Father in heaven.
“The image of Nigeria has gone so low that every citizen is perceived as either a thief or a beggar who has nothing to offer but this is not true. It is our individual and collective responsibility to negate such perception by conducting ourselves in our daily lives (both private and public) in the light of the values that we learnt from our Lord, Jesus Christ.
“Those of us who engage in partisan politics must remember that we need to provide leadership in showing these right values so that we can influence good governance that will bring about a peaceful and prosperous nation.
“Even as Christian politicians mix up with the good, the bad and the ugly, they should not envy the wicked as Psalm 37 teaches us because we know that their ways end in destruction. We must bring the good news of our Lord to bring the long desired change in governance. We must turn the world upside down as the apostles of old (Acts 17:6).”