. . . Avails Political Office Aspirants Avenue to Present Manifesto
By Chioma Ndife
Awka Diocesan Laity Council of Nigeria has commenced the 2019 Laity Week in different parishes in the diocese. The 2019 laity week which commenced on February 10, came sequel to the declaration and flag-off made by the auxiliary bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye, at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Umunze, Orumba South LGA, Anambra State.
The 2019 flag-off which attracted parishioners from all the parishes in the diocese availed opportunity to members of the laity council who are vying for Senatorial, House of Representatives and State House of Assembly elections in various constituencies in the state to present their manifestos.
Flagging-off the 2019 laity week, Bishop Okoye noted that members of the laity council had important roles to play in the forthcoming elections, both as electorate and aspirants. He said that council had the duty of evaluating people vying for elective positions to determine the personality of such persons. He disclosed the importance of carrying out one's civil responsibility and beckoned on the voters to stay back after casting their votes for them to be counted to prevent misconducts.
He urged the members to vote in accordance with their conscience and never allow monetary inducement to sway them into working against their wish. He tasked them on the need to get facts and figures from their various polling units after the vote counting, saying that such figures could be used to challenge rigging in the court of law.
Earlier in his homily when he led in the Eucharistic Mass, Bishop Okoye highlighted the benefits of obeying God's words and abiding in the directives laid down by God, saying that abandonment of one's will in acceptance of Christ brought unlimited progress to such a person.
He advised parents never to allow their children to be used as thugs by politicians and regretted that most politicians would never allow their children to come home during elections, not to talk of using them as thugs.
Addressing members of the Council, Rev. Fr. Barr. Anthony Ezeoke noted that time had come for the situation in the country to be addressed. He opined that such situation could only be addressed through the election of quality individuals who would offer credible representation to address the lop-sidedness currently existing in Nigeria.
For his part, Fr. Peter-Val Uzoezie admonished members of the council against keeping the message which they had received among themselves and urged them to spread the message on the need to protect their votes, as well as their duties in electing credible representatives.
He called on those representing Ndigbo in the national assembly to offer the Igbo race the desired representation that would change the situation of people in the area.
He urged Ndigbo's representatives to join hands and bring back what was due to the people. He said that those who would be elected in the house of Assembly must be those who would support the governor for the continuous progress of Anambra State.
Speaking to Fides, the Chief Chaplain of Laity Council in Awka Diocese, Rev. Fr. Michael Muonwe, explained that the flag-off of the Laity Week would help to rekindle the faith of the Catholic faithful. He maintained that the flag-off created an opportunity for members of the council to be educated on need for them to perform their civic responsibility, particularly in the current electioneering period.
Also Speaking, the President, Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, Awka Diocese, Hon. Joseph Igwebuike, expressed the belief that the laity week would have positive effects on the lives of the members of the council. He said that the event which usually came up yearly presented an avenue for the Catholic faithful to strengthen and bring back the lost flock.
He said that the programme was scheduled to hold in February to enable members of the council seeking elective positions to identify themselves with members of the council and for the members to determine if those persons were qualified to represent them or not. He beckoned on members of the council to vote their members who had shown strength of character and total commitment in the affairs of the association.
For his part, the chairman of the planning committee, Mr. Sunday Nwafor, appreciated God for the success of the event and noted that the flag-off had disclosed the urgent need for people of God to stand up and defend their faith, especially in discharging their civic responsibility to ensure that credible individuals were elected to represent the masses.
Aspirants in the Federal and State House of Assembly in Orumba North/South Federal and State Constituencies, such as Chief Okwudili Ezenwankwo; Mrs. Akuapata Chinwe-Nwankwo; Engr, Obinna Nwafor; Emeka Nwokedi, among others, revealed their blue prints and promised to effective and qualitative representation if elected in office in general elections.