The Archbishop of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama has advised Nigerians not make the mistake of electing a mediocre as the next president of the country in the 2023 election.
Rather, he said the electorate should eschew religious or ethnic sentiment and vote for a candidate that is, “genuinely patriotic, experienced, competent and sincerely God-fearing.”
Kaigama’s advise came just as the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Archbishop Daniel Okoh said the church must begin to encourage persons with Christian values, right character, capacity and competence to participate in politics and take up public offices in the country in order to sanitise the system and guarantee good governance.
While declaring open the third Abuja Catholic Archdiocesan General Assembly at our Lady Queen Of Nigeria Pro-cathedral Garki, Abuja, yesterday, Kaigama said the next political dispensation should be about transparency, accountability and responsibility.
Speaking on the negative impact of religious and ethnic politics pervading the country, Kaigama said:
“We must begin to take self-serving considerations off the table when it comes to politics! Merit over mediocrity is the only approach that will save our country, that is, when we elect leaders who are genuinely patriotic, experienced, competent and sincerely God-fearing,” he said.
Kaigama regretted that politics of bitterness, unhealthy personality clashes and manipulation had become deeply entrenched in the country, adding that inability to realise meaningful change in the socio-political and economic environment was 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.
“The political parties should, therefore, be forthcoming on how best they are to address the issues bedeviling our polity like insecurity, deteriorating public health and education, the current inflationary trends, resulting in high living conditions,” he said.
Okoh who spoke on the theme of the third General Assembly: “Witness in Politics: The Role of the Catholic Faithful,” said there was no better time to discuss the topic than now that the 2023 general elections is about five months away.
“In politics, Christians must occupy our space and participate as the light in darkness; resisting all forms of intimidation. In order to keep up with the tide of events, the CAN inaugurated a Political Strategy and Action Committee to encourage Christians to participate in politics amongst several other things.
“It was also part of the recommendations of the Committee that all Churches must have a Directorate of Politics and Governance which will provide training on Christian values for the right character, capacity and competence to participate in politics and take up public offices,” he said.
Earlier in his remark, the former Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Celestine Omehia who chaired the event, enjoined Christians with credibility to join politics so as to help rescue the country from the ills of bad governance.