As the 2023 general elections draw near, Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, has urged the Christian community in Nigeria not to treat politics as a dirty game.
A statement issued by his spokesperson, Dr Macham Makut, on Saturday, said the governor spoke when he hosted northern Christian leaders in Jos, the state capital.
According to the governor, Christian leaders must galvanise the church and make demands from candidates vying for political offices.
Lalong said this was necessary because anyone whom God gave power, must work for the interest of all Nigerians, including the Christian community.
“This is why we must work harder towards mobilising our brothers and sisters to actively participate in the political process so as to not only decide who leads them, but also have a say on the table when decisions are being taken. We can no longer afford to treat politics as a dirty game thereby leaving it to some few people, and yet complain of marginalisation and poor governance. It is the church that has the solution to the world since Jesus Christ called us the Salt of the Earth and Light of the World,” he said.
Lalong stated that as a governor and Chairman, Northern Governors Forum, he had enjoyed tremendous support and collaboration from the Christian leaders within the state and the entire northern region, who had to engage him and other leaders over policies and programmes of government as well as other national issues, particularly as they affected the Christian community.
He disclosed that he was aware of the expectation of Christians especially as it relates to issues affecting their rights and privileges as well as security and safety within the political system.
“Therefore, as we approach 2023, when Nigerians will be making crucial decisions, I challenge you as leaders to guide your members to first be part of the process and also ensure that they do not make decisions based on emotions and other factors that will not add value to their aspirations.
“We should be strategic and look at the bigger picture and how it affects our interests,” he added.
The governor assured them that as a Christian and a Knight of the Catholic Church, he would continue to do his best to protect the interest of the Body of Christ in any position God gave him to serve the people.
In their goodwill messages, the COCIN President, Rev. Amos Mhozo, who spoke on behalf of heads of denominations in Plateau State, Rev. Dr. Yusuf Wushishi, and former Governor of Adamawa State, Bala Ngilari, said the church must be involved in politics by sensitising its members towards participation in order to advance righteousness in governance.
They emphasised the need for men of God to always preach peace and douse tensions associated with elections.
They were also of the view that religious leaders should encourage people to do the right thing and vote for who they choose, without intimidation, harassment and coercion.
Bishop John Daniels led other clergy to pray for the peace and prosperity of Nigeria and for the successful conduct of the 2023 elections.
They also prayed for Lalong in his responsibilities as the Chairman of Northern Governors Forum and Director General of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council.
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