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Bishop Onaga cautions priests to be neutral as electioneering campaign heats up

The Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, His Excellency Most Rev. Dr. Callistus Onaga has cautioned all priests to desist from using the pulpit to the disadvantages of others as everybody in the congregation is their sons and daughters.

Bishop Onaga who made this known recently in a press conference held in Enugu urged the priests to be neutral while charging them to preach hope, love and not terror as some are in the habit of extorting money from their congregation by threatening them with death if they fail to provide it. This he described as wrong evangelization stressing that it should not happen.

While fielding questions from newsmen, Bishop Onaga hinted that the church has already started the sensitization of faithful by encouraging them to register and obtain their Permanent Voter Cards (PVC).

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He said, “Every Nigerian should make effort. The problem is that at times we excuse ourselves from the ills of the society and tend to push it to another group. We will enter into this kind of blame game where we exonerate ourselves and then see the others as the ones committing it. If we see ourselves as part of the problem then we shall all come out together to solve it. So for 2019, our hope is that every Christian and all Nigerians will go and vote and if we are voting let us vote according to our conscience. Not according to the money given to you. We all know ourselves. We know who these candidates are.”

The Bishop called on all to put their hands on deck to ensure a smooth and credible poll.

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He said, “All of us should have our hands on deck. Politicians are the most vulnerable in terms of blaming because we have always seen them as the ones that heat up the polity through campaigns and what have you.

He urged the media to restore hope to the people. ‘‘Don’t be just looking for sensations. Tell people what will make them live and last. Our dear politicians you are there to serve us but unfortunately you are using us to shield yourselves. How would one person be collecting over fifteen million a month and a whole family of six cannot even collect thirty thousand and it becomes a problem. Where is our conscience?  If you’re to now take care of us please come out and take care of us like Christ came’’.

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Continuing he said, ‘‘Kidnappers help us. You cannot be kidnapping and taking money that people have struggled for. What of the herdsmen?  These are the problems we have in Nigeria, they may say they are not Christians but they are human beings. Stop maiming and destroying people for whatever reason you have. We must all come together to celebrate love that Christmas represents and when we do that 2019 will be a very wonderful year, a year better than 2018. And that is what I wish every Nigerian.”

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