Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma has warned Catholic priests in the state to stay away from partisan politics and avoid “converting their pulpits into campaign grounds”.
The Governor who issued the warning on Sunday at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Nigerian Catholic Bishops’ Conference held in Orlu, said it was a sad development to see Bishops and Archbishops revered to be used by politicians and urged them to maintain neutrality. of the Church and not get involved in politics.
In his opening address, Uzodimma said Catholic bishops should not descend to the level of allowing themselves to be used by dodgy politicians to deceive the people.
“Your Graces and Lordships, let me also point out, with all sense of responsibility, that I do not think it is right for some clergy to convert the house of God and the pulpit into a soapbox for campaigns for their preferred candidates or parties during an election season or at any point in the election cycle.
“Unfortunately, this has become the norm in many of our churches. My worry is that if the church is dragging itself into partisan politics, then it would have lost its moral authority to pontificate because it has made itself a self-interested party.
“In the same vein, certain priests under your tutelage have, through inciting sermons, also taken it upon themselves to inflame the passions, instead of calming them.
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“It is important that you reaffirm the Church’s neutrality on political matters and subsequently warn priests not to get involved in partisan politics. Above all, they should also refrain from fanning the embers of disunity in the country.
“I fully understand that priests have the right and duty to hold our leaders and governments accountable, and no one will ever stop a priest from condemning the evils of society, including bad governance and corruption. My position should not be interpreted as an attempt to deprive them of this moral authority which they have enjoyed since the dawn of time.
“And I can assure you that it is only a matter of time before this is achieved. For their part, Church leaders should continue to promote the unity of the country and not its division,” he said. said the governor.
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