The Director, Church and Society, Fr. Uche Obiechina, says Christians are free to go into politics, especially those who claim that “they are clean” and can help clean up the system.
Obiechina, who is also the Executive Secretary CARITAS Nigeria, made this known at a media parley with the Catholic Society of Nigeria Community on Saturday, in Abuja.
According to him, politics is about governance, about well-being of the people, so the church in Nigeria and Catholic Church anywhere in the world, supports politics and encourages its members to participate in politics.
Obiechina said that what he did was to recognise individual church members and to encourage them to participate actively in politics but not to support the parties.
“But church identifies with our sons and daughters in various political parties. And, that is why the church will not field a candidate and say vote for PDP or APC. The church does not do that and would not do that,” he said.
He said that what the church was doing was to encourage its members to go and register, participate in party politics, contest and vote in the election.
Obiechina added that they were to vote for any man or woman of their choice who satisfies their conscience and values in truth, in honesty, in fair play and justice.
He also said that the church was mobilising Christians and non-Christians to rise up to the reality of politics.
“It is through politics and governance that you can bring about the common good and our country is in dire need.
“Because we have had terrible politics and party apathy amongst a good number of our Christians who will say politics is dirty game, I don’t want to be involved in it.
“If you don’t get involved in it, then you are going to have the dirty men involved in it rule you and you become a victim,” he said.
He however, noted that the leadership of the Catholic Church in Nigeria had said that ”the church does not dabble into partisan politics.”
Obiechina also said that the church would not engage in any form of partisanship in the politics of the country, including the choice of the next president.
” Catholic Church does not play partisan politics but members of the church are expected to play party politics, just that the church as an institution ought not to play party politics.
“Party politics means politics of APC, PDP, PRP and whatever.
“The church cannot play such politics, because there are members of the church that are in APC, PDP or PRP, and may church issues in the church and because of this we cannot identify with any political party,” he said.
The priest said that the church was against the delay in signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law.
He said that the Catholic Church was advising the President to ensure the conduct of the election respects known symbols of operation and practices that will guarantee free and fair election.
“The President should assent to the bill because the bill provides for regulations that will ensure transparency of practice during election and even after elections,” he said.
He advised Nigerians against trading along tribal, ethnic, religious or political affiliations.
Obiechina further said that those were the tools used by typical politicians for so long in exploiting the people