The Nigerian Catholic Diocesan Priests Association (NCDPA) said it will now encourage and influence the participation of Nigerians in partisan politics.
The NCDPA, in a communicated he posted in Calabar on Friday at the end of his 35th Annual General Meeting (AGM), said encouraging Nigerians to participate in politics was one of the agreements members had reached.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the statement was jointly signed by the national president of the association, Rev. Fr. John Bosco Ezehi and the secretary, Rev. Fr. Vincent Illa.
The AGM kicked off on Monday, with the theme “The imperative of effective evangelism through inclusion and political awareness in Nigeria”.
The association expressed concern about the leadership challenge plaguing the country and promised to change the narrative in 2023.
However, the priests said they remained committed to faithfully respecting the sanctity of the pulpit and using it only for the proclamation of the word of God and not for political campaigns.
Furthermore, he stressed that the current socio-political situation in Nigeria demanded that everyone be on top of the game to help put the country on the path of progress and development.
We will use our resources and church structures to mobilize all members of Christ’s faithful to actively participate in the task of electing God-fearing and competent leaders to political office.
We undertake to faithfully respect the provisions of Canon 287 S 2 which prohibits priests from participating in partisan politics.
We will therefore encourage the political participation of all,” the statement said.
The Catholic priests also called on the government to put in place the necessary structures to guarantee free, fair and credible elections in 2023.
The association, meanwhile, said it planned to avert unrest in the country by productively engaging young people.
We are committed to effectively maintaining our proximity to young people by creating an enabling environment for talent and skills acquisition programs and entrepreneurship, especially for those at the grassroots level to avoid turmoil, have helped priests in the statement.
The priests called on government at all levels to put in place workable plans to improve the lot of Nigerians affected by the floods.