The Catholic Church calls for greater political participation of Christians
By Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Catholic Diocese of Jalingo on Friday called on all Catholics and Christians in general to consciously join politics and participate more actively in activities leading up to the upcoming elections so that they can bring the dividends of democracy to the people.
This is contained in the communiqué issued following the 20th General Assembly of the Diocese held at the St Charles Borromée Pastoral Center in Jalingo and signed by Bishop Mgr Charles Hammawa and the Very Reverend Father Eugene Bature (Chancellor/Notary) of the Diocese .
The Bishop noted that despite more than two decades of uninterrupted democracy, poor governance has prevented any meaningful progress and development in the country.
He urged the federal government and the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) to quickly find common ground and end the incessant strikes that have hurt the level of education in the country.
“Nigeria returned to democracy 23 years ago, but the dividends of democracy are yet to fully benefit the people of Nigeria due to poor governance. Consequently, Catholics and even Christians are invited to participate actively in political life in order to contribute their part to good governance. If the conception that “politics is a dirty game” is something to contemplate, then it is even fitting that Christians should set about changing the game from being dirty to being clean. We must not forget that our mission is to bear lasting fruit (John 15:16) so that God may be glorified in our actions (Matthew 5:16).
“We call on Christians to be card-carrying members of political parties, seek elective positions, obtain voter cards and consciously come out to exercise their right to vote to add their Christian values to change the narrative of a better Nigeria. We also call on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to be fair and just in voter registration. They and indeed everyone involved in election monitoring and conduct should be transparent in the upcoming elections in 2023. We strongly condemn political violence and discourage young people from being used as political thugs.
“The unrelenting strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is causing so much damage to the country’s university education system. We call on the federal government to urgently end the ongoing ASUU strike for the sake of the future of this country,” the statement read in part.
The Bishop further condemned the deplorable security situation in the country which has diminished the sanctity of human life and called on federal and state governments, traditional, community and religious leaders and all those in a position to do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of people’s lives and property.
“Taraba State has suffered for many years from crises of different kinds resulting in wanton destruction of life and property. We acknowledge the efforts of the government and traditional leaders to reduce the high rate of insecurity in the state. Based on its obligation, we encourage the Government, both federal and state, to do more because the challenges of insecurity are far from over. We also call on the people of Taraba State to cooperate with the government and security agencies to combat the threat of insecurity. We call on the Tarabans not to add to the bleeding wounds of insecurity by putting an end to tribal, religious and political violence. We must be united in this course. Existing acrimonies should be healed through forgiveness. Fraternal and harmonious life must be embraced so that peace reigns”.
Our correspondent reports that the Assembly which began on Monday with the theme “Catholic action and our task to build the Diocese of Jalingo” is the first since 2019 and saw a massive congregation of priests from the diocese and other members of the clergy as well as lay representatives and was officially declared closed by the bishop after a mass at the Notre-Dame-Reine-de-la-Paix Cathedral in Jalingo.