…publish New Year’s message, table agenda

The Catholic Archbishop of the Diocese of Abuja, Monsignor Ignatius Kaigama, has warned presidential candidates vying for the 2023 election not to mislead Nigerians with impossible campaign promises that would be unrealistic.

They included Bola Ahmed Tinubu (All Progressives Congress); Atiku Abubakar (Peoples’ Democratic Party); Peter Obi (Labor Party) and Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (New Nigeria People’s Party).

He also laid out an agenda for them, including resettling internally displaced people, rebuilding terrorized communities and tackling security challenges as the country prepares for the 2023 elections.

Kaigama stated this in his New Year Message obtained by Journalists in Abuja on Saturday.

He said: “Our prayer this year is that peace flow like a river and social progress, human solidarity and development characterize all of 2023. Politicians now on the campaign trail must do so without hate, bitterness, incitement or disinformation. . They must be careful not to make wild and unrealistic campaign promises that they know in their hearts are not feasible.

“Christians, Muslims, traditional African religious and others are the ones who will choose the next president of Nigeria. We must put our eyes and attention only on leaders who are ready to confront the culture of hostility, violence, banditry, kidnapping, religious persecution, poverty and unemployment; fails to see that sensitive and central appointments are distributed fairly to those highly qualified in different geopolitical zones.

“The determination to face insecurity must be high on the agenda of those who seek to be elected. They must be willing to reveal who is behind the brutal attacks and killings, such as the killers of no less than 38 people killed in separate attacks in Malagum 1 and Sokwong villages of Kagoro chiefdom in Kaura local government area. from Kaduna State or as in Zamfara State. where dozens of people and some Nigerian army personnel were recently feared dead following an ambush by armed terrorists or the killing of a Lagos-based lawyer, Omobolanle Raheem, by a trigger-happy policeman.

“The resettlement of the internally displaced, as well as the reconstruction of terrorized communities where houses, hospitals, churches, mosques and schools have been destroyed, must also receive priority attention. There must be a deliberate pursuit of integration, bringing all people together in harmony that ensures freedom for all to create an inclusive mindset through recognition of our nation’s ethnic, tribal, regional, and religious diversity.

“There must be an adequate management of our diversity and plurality; building community, creating more trust among all the people in Nigeria. There is a very urgent need to address the problem of poverty, according to official statistics, 133 million Nigerians out of an estimated 206 million live below the poverty line.

“With gratitude to God and confident optimism we pray that the year 2023 will meet our expectations as individuals and as a nation. This poem I heard from a young child is appropriate for the New Year: “In happy moments praise God, in difficult moments seek God, in quiet moments worship God, in painful moments trust God and in every moment thank God.”

“While we believe that our loving God will do things for us, we must do our part with great zeal and determination, as demonstrated during the recently concluded FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The team members gave it their all, especially in the finals. After a full game and extra time, they went to a penalty shootout. In the end, one team won the cup and the other took second place. In life, sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. It takes the ability to carry on with equanimity and face positively even when faced with frustrations, failures, or disappointments.

“Failure is not necessarily a bad thing, it is a challenge to try again and keep applying ourselves until victory is achieved. We have experienced God’s generosity in very practical ways in 2022. We have survived a worsening climate of fear and uncertainty at a time when government powerlessness saw non-state actors unscrupulously claim our lives, property, and liberties. . .

“We have lived and survived a culture of kidnapping, hostage-taking and senseless killing. However, it’s not over yet as the drama continues. The deadly Kaduna train attack in March and the agonizing months the kidnapped passengers spent at the hands of gunmen left us all traumatised. The daring attack on Kuje prison by Boko Haram and headlong secessionist demonstrations left us all crying out for answers.

“The warning given by some foreign embassies about the risk of traveling to Nigeria and the subsequent arrest of suspected terrorists in October left us in awe. The volatile situation in the southeast in an attempt to impose an illegal blockade has made life difficult in that part of the country. Over the same period, our nation has grappled with a declining economy and the worst kind of inflation with far-reaching consequences for our social life.

“Everyone, both those in government and the governed, suddenly everyone needed God’s grace to survive and survive 2022. And yet we are here today only because God has brought us here.

Surrounded by so much bad news and associated with some worst case scenarios, our people are in dire need of anything that can inspire some hope.

“Together, both the people and the government, we must sincerely work for that change that brings hope. For government and leadership at all levels, the New Year invites everyone to put people at the center of both politicking and governance, ensuring security, reconciling all the fragmented parts of the nation, and providing an enabling environment for the economy to prosper again as a precondition for remedying the worsening problem of poverty and crisis that the majority of Nigerians are experiencing.

“While we welcome the recent increase in the pace of the war against non-state actors and the encouraging results it has brought, we urge the authorities to maintain these measures and do everything imaginable to secure every part of the country and ensure a climate propitious for the next elections.

“However, as much as the use of arms has achieved, we must not forget that honest dialogue can also be a real tool to collectively build a Nigeria of our dreams that cares for everyone. This spirit of dialogue must govern the current political campaigns towards the 2023 elections and, above all, guarantee fair play and respect for the opinion of the people when it is finally expressed at the time of casting the vote.

“Having faced multidimensional challenges, we in our nation in this time of democratic transition must reckon with the fact that our Lord demands that we fulfill our civic responsibilities. He commands us to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what is God’s” (Mark 12:17). We have the duty to go out, each of us, with the Permanent Elector Credential, queue at our polling stations, behave calmly and orderly, accredit ourselves and cast our vote in the 2023 general elections.

“Regarding the choice of political parties and candidates to vote, we must be guided by the advice of Saint Paul, which says: “what is true, what is noble, what is fair, what is pure, what is lovely, everything that is admirable If something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things” (Philippians 4:8).

“When choosing who to vote for, let your head and heart guide you, not your stomach and pocketbook!

It is by working together and in patient dialogue as Pope Francis urges in Fratelli Tutti, (no. 198) that we can prevent predatory politicians from using religion, ethnicity and regions against us, pitting us against each other.

“We have already seen that without solidarity we have no chance against poverty, disease, natural disasters, unemployment, ignorance, terrorism, insurgency and other forms of insecurity. So, let’s embrace sincere dialogue and work in solidarity with all people of good will for a better country.

Dear brothers and sisters, none of us should ignore the demands and challenges of our time, amid deaths caused by human and natural causes, insecurity, displacement, flooding, economic hardship and the harsh realities that accompany it in our country”.