By Chioma Ndife
The Auxiliary Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Awka, His Lordship Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, has cautioned Ndi Anambra against religious politics ahead of the November 6 guber poll.
He however said competence should be the guiding principle and quality which people should consider more in deciding whom to vote for in the governorship election, rather that one’s denominational affiliation, which, he said, did no one any good.
Bishop Okoye gave the counsel while addressing Catholic faithful at St. Peter’s Parish, Awka, during his pastoral visit to the parish.
He said religious politics had the tendency of breeding disunity and rancour among the different denominational groups in the state, saying that such situation would lead the state nowhere; even as he expressed the need for religious tolerance, which, he said, watered the ground and gave everyone equal playing ground to thrive and development their potentials.
On the notion that the Catholic Church had been dominated the political space in the state, the prelate urged those holding the viewpoint to run a background check on the religious inclinations of those who had governed Anambra since her creation and advised people not to allow themselves to be confused but to focus their attention on what each individual politician could offer and make their decisions.
He noted that those projecting religious politics had nothing to offer and were trying to gather sympathy through religion by saying one religion had been in the seat of power for too long, while others had not held leadership positions.
He explained that Catholics seemed to have been producing governors for over 16 years in the state due to the qualities of the individuals concerned and the leadership qualities imbibed in them during their secondary school education and through the catechism of the Church.
‘Religious politics will not lead anywhere in our dear state. We must focus our attention on people who are competent and have the zeal with leadership acumen to drive home the economic changes that we desire for the good of all.
‘Delivering quality leadership should be the key and not how long a religious denomination has been leading in the state, let’s not be confused by those peddling confusion on how long a particular denomination has been on the seat of power. Religion should never be part of politics, even though the two are integral parts of human co-existence. We should be after giving the right candidate opportunity to lead our dear state and not the religion of the person involved.
‘Catholics seem to have governed Anambra State for more than 16 years now because the individuals concerned had something unique to bring to the table and were never elected because of their religion. Competence should lead and the right person should emerge, irrespective of religious denomination,’ he concluded.