Just like the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Onaiyekan, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle, has urged Christians to be actively involved in politics.
A statement from Mr. Ayokunle’s special assistant on media, Adebayo Oladeji, said the CAN President made the call at the 57th retreat of the Nigerian Baptist Convention, on Saturday.
According to the statement Mr. Ayokunle advised Christians to become card carrying members of political parties and aspire to take over political offices like other concerned Nigerian.
“The practice of separation of State and Church must be redefined. While the State must not be allowed to control the Church, the Church must influence the State through Christians who are in position of power.
“To get to a position of power, there is need for election especially in a democratic setting like ours. We must be involved in all facets of politics. Politics is not a dirty game as many have come to believe, but those who play politics are the ones who are dirty,” the statement said.
According to the statement, Mr. Ayokunle also provided tips for the worshipers on steps towards active involvement in politics. They include the following: join a political party, and be a card-carrying member; register to vote when called to do so by INEC; participate actively at the ward level of your party, attend meetings, and contribute meaningfully during discussions; vote and encourage others to vote during election period; do not stay back at home and watch TV, play football or sleep and; monitor and protect your vote.
“Sidon look approach will not help us as Christians. Mike Murdock said, ‘Never complain about what you permit’. If we do not participate actively in politics, then we do not have the right to complain about the type of leaders that are presented by political parties to be voted for and voted into various offices.
“If we must bring back the glory of Nigeria and rise to more glory as a nation, then effective participation is compulsory for all Christians,” the statement said.
Mr. Ayokunle was quoted as condemning the recent killings by suspected herdsmen in Benue State and other parts of northern Nigeria. He also called for immediate government action to stop the killings.
He also called for restructuring of the country.
“There is the need to update how we govern ourselves, thus, Re-structuring the nation after 57 years is a welcome development. It must be done without bias or prejudice to religion, ethnicity, class or group affiliation.
“For Nation building to be a sustainable force for peacebuilding, it must incorporate more than just the Western appendages of democracy, voting systems, free market development and increase in the Gross National Product (GNP) of the nation,” he said.