The Catholic Church has dissociated iteself from the comment made by fiery priest, Father Ejike Mbaka in which he urged Nigerians to vote out President Goodluck Jonathan. The Church’s Director of Social Communications at the Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Rev. Monsignor Gabriel Osu, said Mbaka’s statement was entirely his.
Osu said: What Father Mbaka said is his personal opinion definitely. He is not our spokesperson neither is he talking on behalf of the church. Whatever happened in that Adoration Centre on that day represented his personal views. What does he really wanted to say? It becomes difficult for to say whatever he wanted to say. In any way, as priests of the Catholic Church, we should not be partisan. As fathers of everybody, either PDP or APC or any other political party, we must not be partisan. We owe it a duty to encourage men and women to go into politics and sanitise the system, but we must not be partisan. The message is lost when you become partisan. Father Mbaka is on his own.
Churches are not meant to be campaign grounds. They are places of worship. Thus, it would be wrong for a priest to turn his church to a campaign rally of sort. Granted that politicians can come to churches, just like other believers, to seek the face of God; but they should do so with humility as not to disturb the sensitivity of others. I recall an incident that happened somewhere in Anambra State where two politicians allegedly came to a religious programme, in company of their supporters. In the course of the programme, the supporters of the politicians clashed and many were allegedly killed in the fracas that ensued.
This is rather unfortunate! Be that as it may, Christians are free to support any politician of their choice, and hold any political ideology they so desire, so long as they do not disturb or molest their fellow men. Furthermore, as you may have known, men of God, or priests, as it were, are not allowed to be actively involved in political activities as to be seen campaigning for a particular candidate. They are meant to be father of all. They are to preach love, peace, justice and equity for all men irrespective of religion, ethnicity or creed.
Understandably, many are afraid that the forthcoming elections may spell doom, judging from the disturbing signals reaching us. But let’s not forget that we have gone through worse situations and came out stronger. It is true that the enemies of this nation are not sleeping in their grand design to destabilize it; we also should not rest on our oars by praying for continuous peace and progress. Our greatest obstacle now seems to be Boko Haram.
We hope and pray also that they would be curtailed before the elections. Beyond prayers, we must also be at alert to vote for only credible candidates and be ready to defend our votes. It is not enough to cast your votes; ensure that the votes are properly counted. We must be alert and ready to report anyone or group of people we perceive to be threats to our collective unity. Nigeria belongs to each and every one of us. It is our responsibility to ensure that we remain one. Let us not be pessimistic or allow fear to rule our minds. Let’s turn to God for guidance and He will never fail us. I pray also that God would empower INEC to do the right thing by allowing justice to prevail, so that, at the end of the whole exercise, the wish of the people would prevail.