From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reminded Nigerians, particularly Christians of the need to fully participate in forthcoming general elections and not sit on the fence as being the case in past election circles.
CAN described the 2023 general elections as one valid chance and opportunity that Nigerians have to turn around the fortunes of the country for good, hence the participation of Nigerians of all demographic is required to ensure that credible people are elected into political offices to run the affairs of Nigeria.
Media aide to CAN President, Luminous Jannamike, in a statement, indicated that CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, gave the charge in his remarks delivered at the opening ceremony of second plenary meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) at Sacred Heart Pastoral Centre, Oriu, Imo State.
Archbishop Okoh urged the participating Bishops and other senior Catholic church officials to continue to support election monitoring team set up by CAN to do a good job in the 2023 general elections as they did in previous elections.
“I also request that you continue to use your highly-revered positions to remind your parishioners and indeed all Christians in Nigeria of the danger of not actively participating in partisan politics, as this is where all the decisions that affect our lives, choice of worship and economy are decided.”
He, however, condole with the Catholic Church faithful over the numerous kidnappings, gruesome murder of many Catholic Priests and Reverend Sisters and senseless killings of worshippers in the sanctuary by terrorists and bandits in recent time.
He added: “The unprecedented spate of insecurity in our nation today, calls for serious concern. We have come to a point in our national history where the value of human life has diminished abysmally. Hardly a day passes without reports of needless killings, decapitation or mutilation of human bodies.
“Thousands of civilians and even members of law enforcement agencies have been kidnapped, abused and murdered in cold blood. As I speak now, thousands of our fellow citizens have been held for several months and even years in one terrorist camp or another in the bush. Kidnapping for ransom has become a very lucrative criminal enterprise and it is an aberration.
“As I was growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, children were not allowed to see dead bodies. But now even the sensibilities of the children are no longer protected. All kinds of crime and wickedness are available almost for free on the social media. Nigeria now ranks high as one of the most terrorized nations of the world.
“This practice has progressively evolved over time and it has drastically reduced our national pride among the comity of nations. It is sad to note that those whose duty it is to guarantee the safety of our lives and properties appear to be helpless in the face of real threat and advancing forces of darkness eclipsing the land.
“My consolation and confidence, however, is always the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ warned us about this time and assured us also that He will not allow the gates of hell to prevail against his church in Nigeria. It is a common knowledge that Nigeria remains a country of great potential. Our bane over the years has been lack of patriotic, visionary and committed leadership.”
He appreciated the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) for the support given to CAN over the years. “From the day that CAN was formed, the CSN has continued to make meaningful contributions towards achieving the purpose of the organization.
“I am glad to inform you that the proposal made by the Catholic church for the review of CAN constitution in order to eschew rancor and bickering during its elections has been done. This reviewed CAN constitution was approved and adopted by the emergency General Assembly in February, 2021, and was used to conduct the last election that was peaceful and rancor-free.
“The present leadership of CAN acknowledges and recognizes the Catholic church as the custodians of church history and therefore would plead that Bishops be more visible in the meetings and other activities of CAN at all levels in order to provide the necessary leadership, guidance and stability,” he appealed.
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