ABUJA – Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has warned political contestants against seeking prophetic prediction of their political futures from priests and other pastors.
CBCN President, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, gave the warning in a strongly worded statement issued to reporters on Wednesday in Abuja.
According to him, such prophetic predictions by men of God are dangerous to the survival of democracy because of their potential to stir propaganda and whip sentiments in ways that could derail the march towards a peaceful and credible general elections in 2019.
He warned: “Our politicians should know that their obligation is towards the electorate, the Nigerian people.
“Politicians must avoid going to seek the outcome of election from priests and pastors. They should go on campaign and let the Nigerian people know what they are capable of delivering.
“When politicians go to the Church, they should seek prayers from the priests and men of God to help them fulfil political manifestoes that will bring peace, justice and prosperity to all Nigerians.”
The Archbishop, who also noted that politicians in order climes look at opinion polls to recalibrate their message, stressed that “the pulpit is not the place to insult or praise politicians. The Church must remain non-partisan.
“We must not be involved in partisan politics. It does not help the Church nor does it help our society when men of God begin to endorse or reject political candidates.
“We in the Catholic Church, denounce anyone who uses the Church or sanctuary to make political prophecy or to endorse candidates for political offices.
“It is true that we must educate our people to vote for candidates who will promote religious freedom in every part of the country. We must educate our people to avoid turning politics to a theocracy; we are a democracy. The electorate make the determination of who to rule them.”
Akubeze also said that as 2018 comes to an end, the CBCN is looking forward to a peaceful election next year.
“We look forward to an election where Nigerians will come out and vote based on their conviction and not based on sentiments or acceptance of propaganda. We look forward with hope to next year, a year when Nigerians will judge the quality of the candidates for political offices by their track records and not vote based on declaration of prophecy by men of God,” he said.
The cleric further appealed to Nigerians to use the occasion of Christmas to embrace peace and express gratitude to God in spite of the challenges facing the nation in many fronts, saying it could have been worse.