Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has banned Catholic priests and faithful of consecrated life from engaging in partisan politics including becoming a member of any political party.
The Secretary General, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN), Rev. Fr. Ralph Madu, gave this order on Thursday in Abuja on behalf of the Catholic Bishops.
They frowned at the public altercation between Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka and a former Anambra State Governor and the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi.
The altercation occurred recently at Fr. Mbaka’s adoration ground in Enugu, on the issue of patronage in respect of the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
According to the Rev. Fr. Madu, the Bishops condemned the shameful scenario on an adoration ground, as contained in video recording that has gone viral on social media, saying the incident does not have the support of the Bishops Conference of Nigeria.
“As has always been our stand, the Catholic church in Nigeria, as clearly stated in their August 7, 2018 directives, remains apolitical and does not support or subscribe to any political party.
“Our concern is for a peaceful election process seen to be free, fair, credible and just, and a democratic governance that guarantees peace, justice, equity, among others.
“On behalf of the conference, we wish to reiterate their obligation as teachers of faith and morals, to educate the faithful on their role in the political life of the country, mindful of the present charged political atmosphere of Nigeria.
“With the ongoing campaigns of political parties gathering momentum, we deemed it necessary to again remind all priests and religious to keep to the position of the church on the issue of non-partisan politics,” Madu said.
While saying that they are sure that the Enugu diocese, where Rev. Mbaka is incardinated, is taking appropriate measures on the incident, they wish to categorically reiterate that no Catholic priest or people of consecrated life should be actively involved in partisan politics in obedience on the Canon Law of the Catholic.
He said, “Also, liturgical ceremonies must never be used as an occasion for political campaigns. The country is presently going through difficult times and we therefore call on all the faithful, to continue to pray for spiritual intervention in the life of our country, by the regular saying of the conference, on daily basis.
“We also enjoined the lay faithful to play their roles in the forthcoming elections premised on good conscience, play their roles at the election without prejudice or inducement and ensure that their votes count and the right people voted into power for the common good.”