By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
Bishop of Ihiala diocese , Anglican Communion, The Right Reverend Prof Israel ‘KelueOkoye has lashed out on Church leaders in Anambra state who are in the habit of poisoning the minds of their members in political offices against other members of the society in other religious sects.
He lamented that religious sentiments during elections are cruelly unleashed, thereby blindfolding vulnerable individuals and subjecting them to the whims and caprices of parasitic politicians.
Bishop Okoye warned the religious leaders to ensure they don’t poison the minds of their members now aspiring to govern Anambra state come 2021 as we move towards the election year.
This he said, would enable them to free their minds of any religious bigotry and bickering while dealing with Anambrarians no matter their religious inclinations.
Bishop Okoye stated this in his Presidential charge /address to mark the first session of the 4th SYNOD of the diocese of Ihiala at St Mark’s Church Umudara ,Ihiala, Anambra state.
He enjoined Church leaders to mobilize and pray for God’s guidance and encourage voters not to vote on superficial emotional considerations but on convictions the person would have interest of the state at heart.
He said : ” We passionately urge the Church leaders in all Christian Churches to be sincerely godly in dealing with those who contend for elective and other offices. We cannot afford to be preachers of the word of God while poisoning the minds of people who aspire to govern the state with teachings that are fundamentally un-biblical and inimical to our collective wellbeing. We should rather sincerely do all we can to free the minds of politicians and others from all sorts of parochial fixations that estrange them from God and also make them instruments in the service of the kingdom of darkness. We must be mindful of the fact that on the day of judgment before God, it would be too late to remind us that “God is no respecter of persons. (Acts 10: 34).
“As a Church, we must continue to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. However, we must also urge every eligible voter in Anambra state to be mindful of the fact that votes cast on the basis of a superficial emotion may turn out to be an unwitting use one’s franchise to betray one’s future.
“Anambra state is abundantly blessed with disciplined, godly, visionary, and intellectually equipped individuals with proven records of administrative sagacity. We must , under God , sincerely, assiduously, creatively, lawfully, cooperatively and prayerfully make the best choice so that the resources of the state will be properly harnessed and utilized for the collective wellbeing of the entire people.
He decried that election year has become a period of turning towns and villages into theatres for all sorts of political drama with hypocrisy at its highest apogee.
He further warned individuals who” in all intents and purposes are neither disciples of Jesus Christ nor sincere ‘ Church goers ‘ parade themselves about as committed ‘Christians ‘ Commissioned by God to lead the state in such a way that peace ,justice , equity and sustainable development shall be achieved because of election to desist from such as they would be exposed.
He called on voters to shun abysmal exploiters deceitfully acting as Philanthropists now because of elections coming up next year as some of their wishy- washy political manifestoes are illicitly acquired , plagiarized and circulated without any iota of sincerity toward translating their contents into reality.
Bishop Okoye frowned that, the moral pervasion that characterizes the so called electoral contest in Anambra State is in various ways encouraged by some ‘Church leaders’, who he described as enemies of Christ. He described some Christians believe are offering support to them as religious brothers or sisters are no doubt mere slaves to the political contrivances of unscrupulous politicians.
He further lamented that the political environment that has been established makes it difficult for many people to differentiate the competent and visionary contenders for the office of the Governor of Anambra State. He warned against those planning to purchase votes as the people are now wiser.
He pointed out that Anambra state has people capable of governing the state but are struggling under financial constraints and stereotypical inhibitions to convince the electorate to reason with them and accordingly, willingly offer them the mandate to translate their vision into reality.
“The people of Anambra State must rise above whatever forms of parochial trappings that in reality subjugate them to machinations of evil minded people they misguidedly look up to asd their models and leaders. Although we are proud of belonging to one of the states in Nigeria that are blessed with a large number of university graduates , we must endeavour to prove loud and clear that we have availed ourselves of qualitative education, otherwise, it may be recorded about us that many of our school graduates graduated without being educated.”
He encouraged all contenders to ensure elections are issue based .
In his remarks, the Archbishop Ecclesiastical Province of the Niger and Bishop of Awka diocese, Most Reverend Alexander ChibuzoIbezimPh.D commended Bishop Okoye and wife Dr Mrs Faith Okoye for their commitment to take Ihiala Diocese to the next level away from missionary diocese.
Member Representing NnewiNorth ,Nnewi South and Ekwusigo local governments in the National Assembly, Hon Chris Azubuogu reassured to partner the Church in technical education, promising to provide technical equipment for the Diocese in their technical institution to ensure youths are empowered with skills and technical knowledge for better survival after school.
Former Dean Church of Nigeria and Archbishop of Province 11 , Most Reverend Maxwell Anikwenwa, Archbishop Emeritus, Province of the Niger , Most Rev. Okpala and former Archbishop Christian Efobi of Province on the Niger among other Bishops attended the synod with theme ” Worship God”.
Chairman synod central planning committee, VenUzorAmutaigwe described the synod as a huge success.