By: Kate Obi/Kaduna
The Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna, His Grace, Most Reverend Dr. Mathew Man’Oso Ndagoso has called on Christian Clergies in the North particularly, Catholic Priests to stop using the pulpit to campaign for politicians or individual candidates but should maintain the pulpit as a sacred place for the proclamation of the word of God.
Bishop Ndagoso reminded the clergy and religious of Archdiocese under the Area of his Responsibility, Kaduna, Kano, Kafanchan, Zaria, Minna, Kontagora and Sokoto States that the ban on partisan politics is still in place, therefore they should and must remain neutral with political parties or candidates.
His Grace who made the call while delivering his Christmas Message to the people of Kaduna State at Catholic Media Centre, Kaduna, North-West, Nigeria on Monday, 24th of December, 2018 told them to endeavour to remain and be seen as moral guides to all politicians regardless of their political, religious or tribal affiliations.
According to him, no church community, organization or leader is permitted to endorse, oppose or campaign for or against any political party or candidates for public office or engage in any other partisan activity, pointing out that a just society must be the achievement of politics not of the church.
“The Church limits herself to offering principles upon which each one is to make an informed decision that is based on the truth of the faith (Ibid no 8) conscious of the fact that the attainment of a just society must be the achievement of politics not of the church.
“The church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She has cannot and must not replace the state, yet at the same time she cannot and must not remain on the sidelines in the fight for justice.
“She has to play her part through rational argument and she has to reawaken the spiritual energy without which justice, which always demands sacrifice, cannot prevail and prosper” he noted.
The Catholic Archbishop therefore said those asking for the vote of the citizens must demonstrate by their manifestoes or tract record of respecting and protecting human life from conception to natural death, working for the common good, inclusiveness in governance, paying deliberate attention to the poorest of the poor in the society.
He opined that manifestoes of political parties and individual candidates that do not indicate how to concretely address matters of human life, the dignity of human person, respect for values of religious, cultural, traditional or social should not be taken seriously.
His Grace Ndagoso lamented that creditable manifestoes should and must guarantee and assure free and fair participation of the citizens in making their choices, possibility of the people holding accountable of those occupy positions or public fund and must have the ability to harness the gifts, talents, energies and resources of the citizens for the common good.
Bishop Ndagoso however urged members of the catholic faith to exercise their right and duty to promote the public life of the nation through the multiplicity of political options available but guide by a well formed Christian conscience.
He also called on the people of all political and ideological affiliations and persuasions to be free and comfortable to approach religious leaders for advice, counseling and blessing without political barriers.
The Catholic Archbishop appealed to governments at all levels to create the enabling environment for the citizens to exercise their civic rights and duties for the realization of good governance and urged INEC to do all within its powers to ensure that forthcoming general election are conducted free and fair.
He enjoined INEC not to let eligible voter disenfranchised for lack of access to his or her permanent voter’s card and polling station while calling on all people of good will to ensure that no matter how much sacrifice it requires, they should ensure that they have their permanent voter’s card (PVC) which is their right and their voice.