Archbishop Emeritus, His Eminence, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, on Thursday urged government at all levels to support a national dialogue that tilted toward restoring peace, development and sanity in Nigeria.
Onaiyekan, who made the call at an interactive session with Catholic Action and Catholic Political Stakeholders in Abuja, stressed that government should give Nigerians a forum to dialogue.
According to him, nobody gains anything during conflicts or war, the problems of the society will not be solved by war. It will only be escalated. When people go to war, it is the better part that wins.
“You do not win wars because you are right. War is not a way to fight for Justice. It is always a possibility to discuss it. Dialogue is very important. A lot of our issues can be solved by talking.
“We are all complaining that the government is not doing enough, of course it will government can fail if the foundation is not strong.
“We do not have to continue that way, we can improve. That is why we are meeting so we can do things as it should be done,” he said.
The Cardinal noted that the purpose of the meeting was to bring awareness to the participants include active politicians, prospective politicians and ordinary Nigerians.
He stressed that every citizen must be involved in politics saying: “If you are not involved in politics and do not care about how you’re being ruled, that means you are not responsible.
“It means that it is your right to be involved in the way your country is ruled.
“It is your duty because you have to contribute your quota, whether by advice, by obeying laws, by criticising bad laws etc”.
According to him, if you are a Nigerian, it is your right and conditions must be created for you to exercise this right.
“That is where we talk about the right of every citizen to participate in government.
“We are not saying every citizen must end up in the National Assembly. But wherever you are, it is your right. Which is why when we criticise government, we are using our right.
“Although everybody should be involved in politics, there are those that are involved in partisan politics, through election or by appointment,” he said.
He said that the Catholic Church social doctrine encouraged those who are gifted, those with good ideas, to go into active politics so that the society can be a better place.
“That is the whole point of this gathering.
“We encourage our Catholic politicians to be familiar with these social doctrines to guide them in what they are doing.
“If there is peace for everybody, there is security. The Catholics will benefit from it.
“We are part of the society. It is a matter of the Catholic Church, through its own members to make positive contributions to the society,” he said.
The Deputy Governor of Edo, Mr Philip Shaibu, urged Nigerian youths to play up sentiments that united us and turn their backs to ethnic champions and religious fanatics.
According to Shaibu, religion is supposed to help us to be better and not to destroy souls.
“Every religious person knows that one of God’s commandments say thou shall not kill.
“And, if God’s commandment says you shall not kill and you kill in the name of religion, you should know that you are going to hell.
“Our doctrines are key to resolving the issues we are facing in the country. If we can be quality Catholics, we will affect more lives and change a lot of things,” he said.
According to him, belivers should be able to reflect the doctrines in whatever they do as politicians in our various offices, to make Nigeria a better place.
“I am very convinced that Nigeria will remain indivisible.
“God has a purpose for this country and nobody or group can derail that destiny, what we need to do is to listen to the voice of God when He speaks to us and do those things that are necessary,” he said.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Youths and Sports Development, Sen. Obinna Ogba, urged good Nigerians with positive ideas to develop the country to go into politics and shun the risks.
”People should not shy away from politics because of the risks involved because life itself is full of risks. With the security situation in the country, who is sure that there will be election in 2023,” he said. (NAN)