. . . Speaks on Minimum Wage
By Abuchi Onwumelu
The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, says his New Year message to Nigerians is for them to vote out bad leaders in the forthcoming general elections. The bishop said this last Tuesday in his New Year message, reports Abuchi Onwumelu.
The bishop said, 'The response Jesus gave to the Pharisees who were devoted to testing him, ''Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's'', is a call to both our civic and religious responsibilities.
'A Christian has the privilege of dual citizenship: a citizen of the Church and that of the State.
This is the implication of the allusion, ''Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's''. Giving to Caesar what is Caesar's refers to the fulfillment of a Christian's civic obligations for the upkeep of the state of which he is a part,' he said.
He said Christians should be courageous to speak the truth. no matter whose ox was gored, adding that the voter card was a weapon given to every Nigerian to wage war against bad leadership and enthrone a responsive government.
'Part of a Christian's civic responsibility is courageous witnessing to the truth. Truth has a vindicating, liberating, and redemptive power; hence, truth saves.
'A nation perishes in corruption and injustice once its citizens are not courageous enough to call a spade a spade, and even unready to die in defence of the right cause.
'Our actions and reactions with regards to election of leaders into offices should be formed and guided by the spirit of truth and of good conscience.
'Our PVC is our mandate and empowerment for this. It is, indeed, a great weapon necessary for the casting of our votes at this time to wage war against bad leadership in the country,' he stated.
The bishop, who accused vote buyers and sellers of violating the 11th Commandment declared that any Catholic who engaged in vote buying or selling had violated the eleventh commandment and asked them to go for confession as vote buying and selling amounted to one selling one's conscience.
'Vote buying is the greatest enemy of good election. It is the “Eleventh commandment” and a sin in the Catholic Church. You betray your conscience and faith,' he insisted, urging the faithful to vote for the right candidates.
On the issue of the N30, 000 minimum wage being demanded by Labour, Bishop Ezeokafor advised the government to cut down on the high cost of governance in order to pay it.
'If the government cuts down the security votes and the salary of lawmakers by one third, they will comfortably pay the minimum wage.
'Why should lawmakers in Nigeria earn more than their counterparts in America? If the government is serious, we must minimize the cost of running the government,' Bishop Ezeokafor stated, just as he advised journalists to realize the importance of their role in society and ensure they relayed the right information.