By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
The Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor, has called for well-formed and conscientious Catholic politicians who can correct current societal ills and banish the pains of bad leadership in the country, reports Ifeoma Ezenyilimba.
Bishop Ezeokafor made the call in his keynote address titled, ''Good Catholic Politicians: Panacea to Bad Leadership In Nigeria'', at the 2019 Annual Laity Seminar of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese (CLCNAD), held at Archbishop A.K. Obiefuna Retreat, Pastoral and Conference Centre, Okpuno, Awka South LGA, Anambra State, from September 20 to 22, 2019.
Addressing the laity gathering on September 21, Bishop Ezeokafor, who cited God's call of Moses to lead His people, Israel, in Exodus 3:4-10, and the choosing of the seven deacons for just administration of the temporal good of the early Church, in Acts of the Apostles 6:1-6, among other portions of the Holy Bible, noted that the governance of human society was a divine institution.
The bishop noted that when the governance of the people was in the hands of men who were full of faith and Holy Spirit, the pursuance of justice, equity and common good would always be guaranteed.
Pointing out that political governance would not be isolated from the laity's very vocation as Christians and as Catholics, Bishop Ezeokafor charged the laity to live up to the demands of their calling as social beings and remain good leaders and well-formed citizens which the Church trained them to be in their various vocations.
The Catholic prelate noted that through a well-formed conscience, a Catholic politician would boldly challenge the ills of society.
'In our country today, a Catholic politician should be bold enough to challenge the suppression of democratic principles, alarming increase in bribery and corruption, terrorism, lack of religious freedom, forceful Islamization of the country, immorality and lack of accountability in governance,' Bishop Ezeokafor stated.
He added that every ideal Christian politician was expected to make Christ the source and summit of the entire political apostolate, and be able to bear witness to sense of justice, honesty, moral courage and courtesy that eschewed all manner of tribalism, sectionalism, corruption, malpractice and lawlessness, so as to move the citizenry and country forward.
The Catholic Laity Council at the seminar, de-emphasized money politics and opted for good character, good Christian personality and quality representation, which, they said, would define politicians in power.
Various paper presenters at the seminar stressed the need for all, especially politicians and governments in power, to shun corruption and maladministration. The speakers emphasized the promotion of human dignity, peace and national development by all.
Among the speakers were an Awka Diocesan Catholic priest, Rev Fr Clement Ezeka, whose paper was on “Christian Laity and the Catholic Social Teachings", and the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, whose paper was on “Checkmating Maladministration for National Development”.
The Chairman of the occasion, High Chief Dr Obiora Okonkwo, who was represented by a former National President of Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria (CLCN), Barr Chizoba Nnagbo, urged the laity to guard and nurture their faith by making adequate use of the Laity Manual, Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Annual Pastoral Letter of the Diocesan Bishop.
He described the on-going Laity Council Secretariat of Awka Catholic Diocese, which stood as the first of its kind in Nigeria, as a worthwhile project that ought to be supported by all.