CBCN COMMUNIQUE : ORLU 2022
Some points to note
By Padre Mike Umoh
TITLE: THE THRESHOLD OF A NEW DAWN IN NIGERIA
A Communiqué issued at the end of the Second Plenary Meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN)
at the Sacred Heart Pastoral/Retreat Centre, Orlu, Imo State,
8 – 16 September, 2022
1. THE CHURCH, POLITICS AND THE COMMON GOOD
a. Politics is for the common good in which it finds its full justification and significance and the source of its inherent legitimacy (cf. Vatican II, The Church in the Modern World, 74).
b. Out of respect for all God’s children, the Church does not identify with or bound to any political party.
c. We urge our Catholic Lay Faithful, … to prepare themselves for it (difficult yet noble art of politics) and, forgetting their own convenience and material interests, to engage in political activity … in pursuance of the common good and the establishment of the moral order.
d. Priests have the duty to guide the Lay Faithful (in political activities and good governance). In doing this, …. priests are not to use the pulpit to promote any particular political party or its candidates.
2. A CALL FOR CIVIC EDUCATION
a. All citizens need to know, right from childhood, that they are stakeholders in the political affairs of their country, that they are actors and not mere spectators.
b. It is only when the people are enlightened to take cognizance of their duties to the nation and their rights in it, that they can escape the servitude of political manipulation and ignorance in their electoral habits.
3. POLITICS AND THE GENERAL ELECTIONS 2023
a. The 2023 General Elections are fast approaching. We commend the National Assembly and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for enacting and signing into law the Electoral Bill 2022.
b. We acknowledge the President’s commitment to ensure a level playing ground for all candidates in the elections.
c. We commend the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for the innovations it has made especially in the area of technology in order to ensure free, fair and credible elections.
d. We however enjoin the Commission to ensure that this technology is transparently deployed in order to increase the confidence of the people in the electoral process.
e. We strongly condemn as unlawful and sinful all forms of vote selling and buying and advise all politicians and voters to refrain from doing so.
f. We therefore renew our call on all our faithful … to come out en masse to vote for people of unassailable integrity, who have the good character, capacity and track record to lead our nation out of the present economic doldrums, irrespective of party, religious and ethnic affiliations.
4. SOME CHALLENGES FACING THE NATION
i. Continued and heightened insecurity in our country
a. We continue to decry the worsening state of insecurity in our nation as well as activities of terrorists and insurgents, kidnappers and bandits … Regrettably, the government has not lived up to its duties with regards to security.
b. We observe that even when they have been arrested, there is not even diligent prosecution of culprits of these nefarious acts thereby leaving the citizenry helpless and despairing.
c. We enjoin all to strengthen security measures in their homes and institutions. We call on all citizens to be law-abiding, vigilant, and shun all forms of violence and criminality.
ii. Nigeria’s Poor Economy
a. Owing to mismanagement and a failing economy with an ever-increasing debt burden, there is poverty and hunger in our land, in spite of our huge human and natural resources.
b. Spiraling inflation, high costs of goods and services, soaring unemployment, crude oil theft and non-functioning refineries have inflicted untold hardship on the citizens.
c. Governments have resorted to unnecessary borrowing which will jeopardize the wellbeing of the present and future generations.
d. We urge governments to make adequate policies and provide the enabling environment for the creation of more jobs by both the government and the private sector.
iii. ASUU Strike and Education in our Nation
a. The protracted strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) since 14 February 2022 is unacceptable.
b. We therefore renew our call on both the Federal Government and ASUU to find the quicker and better way of resolving the matters under contention so that the schools will re-open.
5. CONCLUSION: A CALL TO SOBER REFLECTION, SELF RESTRAINT AND PRAYER
a. No doubt, we stand at the crossroads. How we conduct ourselves at this period is crucial to the survival of our nation.
b. political activities and good governance Let us turn our attention to God in prayer and fasting for our nation to get it right.
c. In campaigning and canvassing for votes, we urge politicians to eschew the politics of bitterness, divisiveness and religious bigotry.
d. We commend our nation into the hands of God as we move ahead in faith, hope and trust.
Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru UGORJI
Most Rev. Donatus Aihmiosion OGUN, OSA
Archbishop of Owerri Bishop of Uromi
President, CBCN Secretary, CBCN