The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Ignatius Ayau Kaigama, has called on Nigerians to participate actively in the upcoming elections by voting, warning that abstaining from voting was a disservice to the Christian faith.
Kaigama made the call at the 3rd Abuja Catholic Archdiocesan General Assembly with the theme “Witness in Politics: The Role of the Catholic Faithful” which is being held at Our Lady Queen of Nigeria Pro-Cathedral, Abuja.
He said, “By voting, we are all fulfilling our calling to sanctify the society; one cannot complain of bad governance if they didn’t vote during elections.
“You can’t complain about the government if you don’t vote and you do your Christian faith a great disservice by abstaining from voting.”
The cleric also called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to “more than ever before, especially with the passage of the electoral bill, ensure transparency, probity and fairness.”
He expressed worry that “politics in Nigeria is considered as a business,” describing it as “superior to probity” and, therefore, tasked political parties to be forthcoming on how best they would address the issues bedeviling the polity like “insecurity, deteriorating public health and education, the current inflationary trends, resulting in high living conditions.”
“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.
“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.
“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 (cf. GS 75).”
In his goodwill message, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel C. Okoh, called on those engaged in partisan politics to 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,” he said.