As political activities peak in the remaining 55 days to the 2019 general elections, the Catholic Bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Reverend Dr Paulinus Ezeokafor has said the period is so critical to the survival of Nigeria, and warned the electorate to refrain from vote-buying and selling which according to him is a sin against God and a breach of “the eleventh commandant”.
Making this known in an interaction with newsmen while declaring his Christmas Message at Saint Patrick’s Catholic Church, Awka, Anambra state capital over the weekend, Bishop Ezeokafor disclosed that those who are found to engage in such bribe giving and taking should confess their sin in order to be forgiven.
He said: “Vote buying is a sin, and those who do that must go for confession.
“It is a sin, sin in quote, I say in quote because you may say it is not among the 10 commandments of God.
“So I put it in a context so I can take responsibility for what I said.
“Vote buying is the ‘eleventh commandment’ and a sin in the Catholic Church. You betray your conscience and faith thereby committing sin.
“Even the one who receives money to vote is also a sinner, like the one who gives and must go for confession, because if you did not demand, the politician would not give,” the Bishop noted.
According to him, the country is sitting on a keg of gun powder and requires efforts of every Nigerian to remain one.
“Let us be watchful and do our best to ensure that Nigeria is intact… What is facing us next year, the elections, is so vital that the truth of Christ must prevail.
“Witnessing to the truth is to be sincere to ourselves and make sure we get the right people. Vote the right person, protect your vote and every other thing will fall into place”.
“The bishop also cautioned Nigerians to celebrate the birth of Christ in modesty and shun the tendency to achieve what they could not in 11 months in the month of December.
“The period of Christmas is a time for modesty and celebration of the life of Christ which he lived for us.
“Live moderately and remember that there will be next year, and that struggle and the challenges of life will continue,” he said.
On the issue of minimum wage, Bishop Ezeokafor said it is not a big deal for government to agree to pay the ₦30,000 minimum wage per month as demanded by the Labour unions, if it cuts down on the cost of governance.
“If government cuts down the security votes and salaries of law makers by one-third, it will comfortably pay the minimum wage.
“Why should lawmakers in Nigeria earn more than their counterparts in America? If the government is serious, we must minimise the cost of governance.
“Nigerian government should be able to pay the minimum wage if government prunes down the cost of governance.”
While calling on the media practitioners to disseminate accurate and factual information for the betterment of society, the Bishop enjoined all the various denominational faithful to live in harmony and celebrate Christmas moderately.
“The nature of society depends on information they receive. When they get good information, they become better.
“Give the people the right information”, he charged journalists.