By EHIGIMETOR IGBAUGBA
CALABAR- The Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests’ Association (NCDPA) has said that it will henceforth encourage Nigerians to participate in partisan politics.
The association, in a communique it issued in Calabar on Friday at the end of its 35th Annual General Meeting (AGM), stated that encouraging Nigerians to take part in politics was one of the agreements the members reached.
The AGM which began on Monday had as its theme “The Imperative of Effective Evangelisation through Inclusiveness and Political Awareness in Nigeria.”
In the communiqué, the association expressed worries about the leadership challenge besetting the country and promised to change the narrative in 2023.
The priests, however, noted that they remained committed to faithfully respecting the sacredness of the pulpit and using it only for the proclamation of the word of God and not for political campaigns.
It stressed that the present socio-political situation in Nigeria called for all hands on deck to help place the country on the path of progress and development.
“We shall use our resources and structures of the church to mobilise all members of Christ’s faithful to participate actively in the task of electing God-fearing and competent leaders to political offices.
“We commit to faithfully adhere to the provisions of Canon 287 S 2 that prohibits priests from participating in partisan politics.
“We shall, therefore, encourage political participation among all,” the communiqué stated.
The NCDPA called on the government to put in place the necessary structures that would ensure free, fair and credible elections in 2023.
Meanwhile, the association said it planned to avert restiveness in the country by productively engaging the youth.
“We commit to effectively maintaining our closeness to the young people by creating an enabling environment for talents and skill acquisition programmes and entrepreneurship, especially for those at the local level to avert restiveness,“ the priests aid in the communiqué.
The priests called on by government at all levels to put in place workable plans to ameliorate the plight of Nigerians affected by the floods.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the communique was jointly signed by the association`s National President, Rev. Fr JohnBosco Ezehi and Secretary, Rev. Fr Vincent Illa. (NAN)