Very Rev. Professor Pic Onwochei, the Sub-Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke, has advised Nigerians, especially those in his congregation who have registered for their PVCs, to make sure they secure them in order to cast votes in the upcoming elections.
The bishop exhorted Christians to avoid demonising politics and to make sure they actively participate in it after receiving the necessary training to utilise politics as a platform to uphold social righteousness.
Onwochei, who spoke on Friday in his Jos office, emphasized the need for eligible congregants to make sure they don’t stay at home on election days but instead turn out in large numbers to vote because participating in the process of electing reputable leaders to lead the people is not sinful.
He said, “During registration, I encouraged my members to go and register, now we are asking them to go and collect their PVCs. I have mine with me. We have encouraged members to go out on those days and vote. I don’t want to dictate who they should vote for; though it is not wrong we only guide them to vote their conscience.”
“Look at what is happening and check among the candidates who you think will best represent your interest. For a long time, the teaching or the way Christians in Nigeria approached politics, staying out of it because it is dirty and bad things happen in politics; affected us.”
“Politics is a civic responsibility we should be involved in because if we refuse to get involved, we cannot blame those who come to power; we have no say on those who come to power. Whatever policy they make will affect us directly and indirectly because those in governance determine how much fees are paid in public institutions, they dictate what rates are paid for bills.”
“They influence the market economy, and social policy that affect us, we should have a say. I disagree that Christians should not go into politics, what it takes for bad people to continue is for good people to stay away. I don’t just want my parishioners to vote but to be card-carrying members of political parties.”
“It is the card-carrying members that determine who you vote for. Whoever they bring is the choice you have. Christians should be involved in politics to the point of deciding who comes out to stand for elections. All I insist is that if you want to stand for election, can you be properly discipled? Can you be brought to see who you are in Christ by the principles of the word of God, to know that wherever you are placed, you are standing there for Christ, not for yourself?”
He further stated, “Christians should go into politics not to enrich themselves but to push for social righteousness and be involved in looking after the oppressed, the widows, the fatherless because these are a set of people that God is interested in…”
“You can’t represent God and embezzle public funds, abandon your wife and frolic with cousins of Jezebel, not concerned about social programmes that would impact the people. Because we don’t involve in the process of bringing politicians to office, they don’t feel accountable to us…”
On the Muslim-Muslim ticket, he added, “Can you in all good conscience say that in Nigeria which is religiously pluralistic, you will make the first two positions in the nation to come from one religion? Can I in good conscience support that? Nigeria is pluralistic, and that must reflect even in our choices of leadership, all people must be made to feel they belong to this entity called Nigeria.”
He appealed to his congregation not to sit at home on election days but go and vote, being properly guided and in good conscience.