By Rukayat Moisemhe

Lagos , Nigeria – Catholic clerics have charged Nigerians to show love, embrace forgiveness and seek divine guidance in choosing the right leaders for the country during the coming polls in 2023.

They gave the advice in a communique from the Church of Assumption 2022 Christmas concert signed by Mr Anthony Chiejina, Group Chief Branding and Communication Officer, Dangote Group, on Wednesday in Lagos.

Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, Most Rev. Dr Alfred Martins, in the communique urged Nigerians on reconciliation in the spirit of Christmas.

Martins enjoined Nigerians to be deliberate about listening keenly and with a critical mind to what politicians have to say and seek to know what was behind whatever was being said.

He also called for citizens’ full participation in the electoral process, and urged the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure proper distribution of Permanent Voter Cards to enable Nigerians carry out their civic duties.

“We are here today to celebrate a Christmas concert, the 62nd anniversary of the parish and the 10th anniversary of my predecessor retirement and of my assumption of office, so this makes this celebration unique.


“As the country moves into the election year, one thing that we must all do, all Christians and indeed all people of goodwill, is to pray for guidance in choosing the right leaders to lead us at different levels.

“Our situation in the country is such that without the help of God, we certainly are incapable of doing it by ourselves.

“Looking at the security situation of the country, we charge President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure the assurances given in regards to the election to be free and fair without interference.

“We hope that he will ensure that happens by making sure that the security agencies are thoroughly prepared and that they carry out their duties without any fear or favour.

“Also, the politicians themselves should recognise that if they throw up chaos, it is not going to affect the people alone; it will also affect them and their chances and the well-being of the nation, and therefore all of us just need to be equitable in our perspective,” the cleric said.

The Catholic Church of the Assumption Parish Priest, Very Rev. Francis Ike, pointed out that the concert gathering was more than a carol as it called for love and peace to reign in the country.

“We should build a country where we see one another as brothers and sisters, where someone from the north can relate freely with someone from the south, and someone from the east can also relate freely with a person from the west,” he said.

The Christmas concert committee chair, Dame Marie Fatayi-Williams, stated that Jesus Christ was the reason for the season, and urged Nigerians to leave no one behind but recognise the interconnectedness in the love of God, man and creation.

“Going into the new year which is an election year, we should seek for reconciliation, forgiveness and peace as these are the messages that will be forever preached.

“We can restore peace and harmony back by embarking on actions of simple lifestyle changes as a family both at home and in the church to restore harmony to creation.

“We can all go ‘green’ by giving someone a tree seedling as a gift, and planting more trees to celebrate Christmas and other landmarks,” she said.

She also called for the reuse and recycling of plastic, proper disposal of refuse, energy conservation and avoiding indiscriminate dumping of waste to save the environment.

“We as a family and parish resolve to sign up to the Laudato Si Action Platform (LSAP) to save the planet -the Earth- our Common Home,” she said.


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