From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has expressed determination and commitment to fully participate in political activities that would culminate in 2023 general elections.
To this end, it has inaugurated a Committee on Political Strategy and Action comprising eminent personalities that would help the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria achieve its aim.
The committee has the responsibility to mobilise and encourage Christians to participate in politics and other activities that would legitimately produce quality leaders in Nigeria and beyond.
CAN President, Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, who disclosed this, yesterday, at the third Abuja Archdiocesan General Assembly meeting at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Abuja, said the committee recommended that all churches must have a directorate of politics and governance to provide training on values, character, capacity and competence for members to participate in politics and take up public offices.
He lauded the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja for showing leadership in this area by establishing the Justice, Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) since 1994 with clear thematic areas that include human rights protection, human capital development, democracy monitoring and civic education.
This is Archbishop of Abuja Catholic Archdiocese, Most Rev Ignatius Kaigama, flayed the rise in politics of bitterness, personality clashes, manipulation and other unfriendly activities which have become deeply entrenched in Nigeria.
He asked more Nigerians to develop interest and participate in political activities that would herald the emergence of new set of political leaders in 2023.
Kaigama said the inability to realise meaningful change in the socio-political and economic environment was as a result of the culture of corruption and poor governance, coupled with untamed political, religious and ethnic sentiments.
He stated this at the opening ceremony of the Abuja Archdiocesan General Assembly at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Abuja, with the theme: “Witness in Politics: The Role of the Catholic Faithful”.
He stressed the need for complete change in the way politics was played in Nigeria in order to reverse the unfortunate trend.
“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 to address the issues bedevilling our polity like insecurity, deteriorating public health and education, the current inflationary trends that had resulted in high cost of living.
“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 superior to probity. Most times, we 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 the country heads for the 2023 general elections, Kaigama reminded the Church of its responsibilities to vote wisely those seeking to be elected into public service, and also serve in a Christ-like manner when elected.
He appealed to Nigerians to unite against bad governance, saying poverty, insecurity, unemployment and other ills know no tribe, religion or ethnic groups.
Chairman of the occasion, Celestine Omehia, said the theme of the General Assembly meeting was very apt knowing that the general election in Nigeria is just five months away and preparations by political parties, party members and other well-meaning members of Nigerian society are ongoing.