Ekweremadu Wants Church In Politics
Senator Ike Ekweremadu representing Enugu West senatorial zone in the National Assembly, Thursday, said churches have major roles to play in ensuring good governance in the country. He described the notion that churches and devout Christians are supposed to be averse to politics as ‘self-exclusion from good governance and nation-building’.
Ekweremadu spoke at the Standing Committee Forum of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, held at the All Saints’ Cathedral, Onitsha, Anambra State, when he presented a paper entitled “The Role of the Church and Politician in Politics and Democratic Nation-Building”.
Represented by Professor Offornze Amucheazi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, the former deputy Senate president said, “Often times, you hear Christians say that the church should not be involved in politics. That, by extension, is self-exclusion in the task of nation-building.
“It is important that the church does not remain aloof, but should play a decisive role in the task of nation-building. In doing so, she helps to foster development, national identity, and create stability in society. It is this lack of national identity and instability that has brought our country to where it is today. It is the lack of national identity that has fostered the divisiveness in our country, and created the insecurity which we now experience.”
The lawmaker further said the church could participate in nation-building through political education, mass mobilization during elections and voter registration, encouraging obedience to constituted authorities and rule of law, counselling and nurturing of political leaders, capacity building and peer review opportunities for leaders as against being partisan. The church can best serve as the watchdog by calling out leaders when they fail, and commending those that do well, he added.
“The church,” he said, “Should not only condemn anti-people policies, but also ensure that such condemnations are based on informed knowledge and verifiable facts. This is why I advocate that the church set up research units to analyse government policies and proffer alternatives where necessary.”
Aside prayers, Ekweremadu said the church should also engage in social welfare activities to provide succour to the less privileged to make living more meaningful.
He called on political leaders to remain just in the discharge of their duties, bearing in mind that they would render their scorecard before God. He noted that, “I believe that a man, most especially a Christian, should stand for something and be ready to bear the brunt and suffer the persecutions or even die for what he believes to be right. It is not easy to trade political patronage and promotion for political persecutions and suffocation. But in the end, you are happy with yourself that you made the body of Christ proud and that you live in good conscience.”
The event was attended by the hierarchy of the Anglican Church in the state.