By Vincent Kalu

Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and representatives of the Nigeria Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA) have outlawed the use of pulpits for political campaigns.

This was their resolution at the end of their interactive session, with the theme, “Political Consciousness for Effective Choice of Political Leaders in Nigeria,” held at the Sacred Heart Pastoral Centre, Orlu, Imo State on Friday.

The resolution jointly signed by the CBCN Chairman, Most Rev. Alfred Adewale Martins and NCDPA President, Rev Fr. John Bosco Ezehi, emphasised that: “Given that politics, properly understood, is the pursuit of the common good of the citizenry, we commit ourselves to encouraging every adult Nigerian to participate actively in it rather than leave it to career politicians.

“We shall work to increase the level and quality of political awareness among our people so that all may realise that only through right political choices can our present situation be ameliorated.

“We shall use our resources and structures, including the Justice Development and Peace and Peace Commission (JDPC), and the Catholic Social Teaching for mobilisation of all sectors of the populace, especially at the grassroots, for active participation in the electoral process.

“We shall constantly remind our people to look beyond divisive issues and political affiliations and choose rather people with records of integrity, honesty, accountability, selfless service, judicious management of public resources and closeness to people.

“We commit ourselves to preserving the sacredness of the pulpit and liturgical services, which should never be used for political campaign.

“While respecting the provisions of canon 287 S 2, which prohibits priests from participating in partisan politics, we urge our priests to do all in their power to ensure that Christ’s faithful are well educated and guided to fulfill their responsibility in the political arena.

“As ministers of God and servants of the people, we shall continue to uphold prayer and fasting as our ultimate source of strength and as the tools for the realisation of the above resolutions and the betterment of Nigeria. We invite the people of God to do the same.”