- Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has urged Christians to participate actively in politics and not be onlookers
- The governor gave the charge to the faithful while speaking at an event organised by the Anglican Church
- Okowa noted that Christians should desist from the habit of criticising and condemning political leaders, but contribute their own quota in making society better
Port Harcourt - Delta state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, on Tuesday, February 22 called on Nigerians, particularly Christians, to participate actively in the political process through voting at elections and in advocacy for good governance and credible leadership.
The governor made the call in a keynote address entitled "The Christian and Responsibility" which he delivered at the Standing Committee Meeting of Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) held at All Saints Cathedral, Rumuokwurusi, Port-Harcourt, Rivers state.
He said that Christians must exercise their right to vote and elect leaders that would govern them, adding that it was doubtful if 50 per cent of eligible voters among Christians voted at elections.
Okowa pointed out that it would be uncharitable for any Nigerian, including Christians, to complain about political issues and bad governance when he or she did not participate in electoral processes.
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“I say this because many Nigerians seem to have convinced themselves that votes do not count, but let me hasten to add that they are greatly mistaken.
“Votes count, and refusing to vote is what gives room for the bad guys to manipulate the process.
“I, therefore, call on every Bible-believing Christian to go and register to vote. I believe we can all afford to pay the price to elect the right people into office.
“If we fail in this civic responsibility, we lose our right to complain about bad governance or incompetent leadership.”
He urged religious and political leaders to sharpen their spirit of discernment and ask God for wisdom in responding to public enquiries.
He said that as the conscience of the nation, religious leaders had a responsibility to maintain an independent, unbiased and non-partisan approach in matters of politics and governance.
Okowa urged Christians to prayerfully assess candidates and vote for those with demonstrable capacity to lead, proven record in leadership, probity and moral backbone to withstand temptation and shun corruption.
“We must not vote for a candidate along ethnic or sectional lines; we should not even vote on religious and denominational basis because there are hucksters who use religion for political gain.
“Faith-based NGOs must take the lead in the advocacy in fighting for social justice, advocate for the right persons to be elected to office, and set agenda for governments at national and sub-national levels.
“And, Christians should desist from the habit of criticising and condemning political leaders, but should not be mute when they are violating the rights of the people, engaging in acts inimical to good governance, or impoverishing the people through unpopular policies.
“We must let our leaders and representatives know where we stand and hold them accountable to God's standards of truth, righteousness, and justice.”
Primate of Church of All Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev'd Henry Ndukuba, commended Okowa for his people-oriented and sensitive leadership.
He said that the Church was honouring Governors Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Darius Ishaku (Taraba), Willie Obiano (Anambra), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Babagana Zulum (Borno) and Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, for courageous and purposeful leadership in challenging times.
Ndukuba added that the six leaders were chosen across religions and denominations in recognition of their huge sacrifices in providing good governance for the people.
Pray for God’s intervention in Nigeria, Gov Okowa urges religious leaders
Governor Okowa recently called on religious leaders in different denominations in the country to organise special prayer sessions for God to intervene in the affairs of the nation.
He made the call on Tuesday, February 15 while playing host to the president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Bishop Wale Oke at Government House, Asaba.
The Delta state chief executive noted that Nigeria as a nation needs prayers for God to positively turn things around for the overall good and development of the country, emphasising that the myriads of problems confronting the nation require prayers for them to be surmounted.
2023: Northern Professionals Forum asks Okowa to contest as president
Meanwhile, a group operating under the aegis of the Northern Professionals Forum (NPF) has called on Governor Okowa to contest for the presidency in 2023.
No cabal can force leaders on Nigerians: CAN drop another bombshell, sends serious warning to politicians
The forum in a statement sent to Legit.ng on Thursday, February 10 said they have taken cognisance of the Delta governor's track record of infrastructural and socio-economic development of his state, adding that he can replicate same at the national level.
The body which is comprised of professionals from diverse fields noted that governance cannot be left in hands of those who least understand what infrastructural, human capital, and socio-economic development was all about in the guise of politics.