Papers Presented at the
2nd Catholic Social Forum’s Bi-Annual Convention
Held at the
International Conference Centre, Abuja
10th – 12th November, 2006
PROF. MICHAEL OGUNU
ARCHBISHOP JOHN ONAIYEKAN
THE CATHOLIC LAITY COUNCIL OF NIGERIA (2007)
Excerpts from the book most relevant for urgent consideration for 2019 elections
- “Another period of election is again here with us. Another opportunity for us to take responsibility for our common destiny as a nation is again with us – a time when, as Cardinal Okogie reminds us, “we freely choose those men and women we trust will safeguard our freedom of movement, freedom of religion, of speech, etc”. If the 2007 elections afford us the opportunity to elect those who will improve the fortunes and destiny of Nigeria, it behoves us as responsible Catholics to exercise our voting rights in a manner consistent with the dictates of our conscience and the social teachings of the Church”. (From the Foreword by Archbishop John Onaiyekan, CON, Archbishop of Abuja, Ash Wednesday, 21st February, 2007).
- “Another period of election is again here with us. Already there are signs that all may not be well unless Nigerians, one and all, are ready to stand up to take their destiny in their hands and with the help of God, revive the fortunes of our fatherland. For this to happen, we must condemn in unison the incessant assassination of political aspirants, for life is sacred. Election time is a period of great opportunity for us to take responsibility for our common destiny. It is a time when we freely choose those men and women we trust will safeguard our freedom of movement, freedom of religion, of speech etc. It is a time for us to be vigilant to see that those who want to lead us show that they have the interest of Nigeria at heart … … All must realise that it is criminal to buy or sell vote, rig elections or declare a candidate who certainly was not elected no matter in what clever way this manoeuvre is perpetuated”.
“Now is the time for us to rise and be counted among the faithful ones of the Lord. We must not let the strong forces of corruption affect us. We must remember that God is our God, not money, or power or personal gratification. We must recognise that our devotion to God calls us to be unselfish and generous in our relationships with each other. We are called to live as children of God beyond reproach in the midst of a twisted and depraved generation”. (From Cardinal Okogie’s Goodwill Message).
- “Considering what has been happening in recent times, the spate of assassinations, impeachment of elected public officers, embezzlement of public funds, air, land and sea mishaps; in short, the near total absence of the letter and spirit of the Gospel of Jesus in the life of the nation leaves no one in any doubt that we need the intervention of God in the affairs of this country. Our people are suffering, many are crying, groaning and gnashing their teeth; our youths are homeless and helpless. Should we all fold our hands and continue to watch in dismay? I dare say NO. God has certainly heard the agony of His people and he wants to intervene”. (Mr. J. U. Iredia KSM, National President of the Catholic Laity Council of Nigeria, 2006).
- “There are definitely challenges that face Nigeria at this period of its search for unity and progress as a great nation within Africa. With the background of several years of attempts and failures caused both by historical, contingent, human and natural factors, the Christian Churches cannot stand aloof and watch as the nation goes apart and its great mission of reconciliation and announcing the good news of salvation thwarted… … Thus the entire attempt towards nation building to which the Churches are called to act together as stakeholders and salvage the nation cannot be achieved through prayer and preaching alone. This is good but not enough. It has to be followed by concrete action”. (Rev. Msgr. Obiora Ike).
- “We need to state right from the beginning that the centre of the claims of human rights is the right to life. Everything else is important only to the extent that it protects, guarantees or facilitates the attainment of the welfare of the human person. Thus, the right to life is so important because in the final analysis, it is the basis of our common humanity, irrespective of religious or cultural differences … … When the state fails in its duty of weaving a garb of legislative support to ensure that these rights of the individual are protected while also ensuring that the individual performs his duties and obligations to the state, our world would be back to Hobbes’ state of nature where life was brutish, nasty and short ”. [Fr. (now Bishop) Matthew Hassan Kukah].
- “Certain disclosures over the years, but much more in recent times have revealed that the government in Nigeria has hardly been governing for the people of Nigeria. Rather, it has largely been governing for the people in government. How much of the so-called dividends of democracy has been allowed to trickle down to the generality of Nigerians? In what ways has the quality of life of Nigerians changed for the better since 1999? It seems that all that the people in government in Nigeria care about is themselves, and about how long they can continue to be in government”. (Msgr. John Aniagwu).
- “I give my blessing to the publication of this excellent book so rich in content and I sincerely recommend it to all Nigerians who are sincerely interested in improving the fortunes and destiny of Nigeria”. (Archbishop John Onaiyekan).
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