…Berates Nigerian Govt over Marginalization of Christians
By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
Ahead of party primaries and the 2019 general elections, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Paulinus Chukwuemeka Ezeokafor, has warned party faithful and the Nigerian electorate not to indulge in buying and/or selling of votes, lest they incur the wrath of God.
Bishop Ezeokafor, who gave the warning in his homily at the concelebrated Holy Mass for the grand opening of the 2018 Annual Seminar/Workshop of Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese (CLCNAD), at Archbishop Albert K. Obiefuna Retreat, Pastoral and Conference Centre, Okpuno, Anambra State, September 15, warned that buying and selling of votes were sins against God.
The bishop averred that anyone who indulged in the selling and/or buying of votes was guilty of sin against the Holy Spirit and had incurred the wrath of God by that action. He advised the electorate against selling their conscience for mere peanuts received in election periods, but instead vote in credible candidates whose candidature depicted quality representation and responsible governance.
He described actions where the electorate, after casting their votes, exposed ballot papers for party agents to pay them for the votes cast, as clear cases of selling and buying of votes, even as he urged the electoral umpire to make provisions for enclosures for secret voting.
Bishop Ezeokafor, who described the theme of the CLCNAD seminar/workshop: ''Christian Faith at the Turbulent Period'', which fell on the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, as very apt, noted that the Christian faith had been endangered in Nigeria.
He said, 'We are really in a turbulent period in our country, Nigeria. The Fulani herdsmen's attack, the insurgency, the insecurity, the federal government appointments which had consistently and negatively affected the Eastern Region, and others, leaving only the northerners as the favoured ones; the marginalization of Christians and the corruption, even among the leaders who claim to be fighting corruption, clearly indicated that we are in a turbulent period in Nigeria.'
The Catholic prelate said that anyone who supported the present Nigerian Government was against Christianity and wondered how a president of a country where Federal Character was obtainable, could make almost 98% of the federal appointments from his own section of the country and still claim to be a Nigerian president.
'The Federal Government has consistently maintained silence over the continued killings and massacre of Christians, but instead favours the fulanis whenever their cows are killed. Our work as prophets is to tell our people the truth. We believe in one Nigeria, but not at all costs.
'It should not be the case of monkey dey work, baboon dey chop President Buhari's action and inactions are completely anti-Christian,' Bishop Ezeokafor said.
On the upcoming presidential debate which President Muhammadu Buhari allegedly planned to send Vice President Osibanjo to represent him, the Catholic bishop described it as a slap on Nigerians, saying that in civilized countries, any aspirant or candidate that did not participate in the debate personally, would be screened out immediately.
He wondered why Buhari would not participate in the debate so as to tell the people what his plans for Nigeria and Nigerians were, saying that such meant that Buhari was no longer responsible for his actions.