[From BONIFACE OKORO, Umuahia]
Senate Minority leader, Senator, Enyinnaya Abaribe, has advised Christians in Abia State to obtain their Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and vote en masse during the 2023 general elections if they hope to play a vital role in effecting a change in the style of governance that has existed in the state because the church bears the brunt of bad governance in the society.
Also, the Bishop of Umuahia Diocese, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Obijuru Ibeabuchi, announced that it has become compulsory for all adult members of the church to present their PVCs before doing any transaction with the church.
Abaribe who is a governorship aspirant in Abia on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) noted that Christians could only effectively contribute to choosing the best leader for the state by getting their PVC and coming out to vote on election days.
The Senator representing Abia South Senatorial zone spoke to newsmen on the sidelines of the Second Session of the Synod of the Anglican Church holding at St. Andrew’s Church, Nsukwe/Amibo Ubakala (Ubakala North Archdeaconry) in Umuahia South Local Government area of Abia State.
Fielding questions from newsmen after presenting a paper titled “Mobilizing the people for effective and God-fearing leadership,” on Friday, April 30, 2022, Abaribe said he told the Synod delegates that votes, not prayer points, would enthrone good leaders who would bring positive changes in governance.
“We are talking with the church and we said that the church bears the brunt of bad governance in the society because when you don’t pay workers, they run to the church; when things are difficult for the people, they run to the church; when a woman is unable to feed her family, she runs to the priest. So, at every point, the church must get involved in who will become the political head of our society.
“Finally, what I said to the church is, get your PVC. Prayer points will not make the necessary votes. Only votes cast by believers for the right type of persons in our society will change our society for better,” the Senator said.
Abaribe maintained that “geographical zoning has not favoured Abia, saying that time has come to choose a competent governor who would offer good leadership in the state.
“It is now time to zone to capacity, capability, integrity and competence because we can no longer continue to do the same thing that we were doing before which is to do the geographical thing and end up having less than stellar type of people to rule Abia.
“I do not think that the cycle of mediocrity which we have had in Abia, that we will continue in that way in 2023; it is time for us to make a movement to a new ground for Abia State.
“Today, we must necessarily, at the place we find ourselves, go for getting the best for us. What I am advocating today is that we should look at our circumstance, look at what is best for us. And I think today that what is best for us in Abia State is to get the best person that can move us beyond where we are,” he said.
Delivering his Presidential Address at the Synod, the Bishop of Anglican Church, Umuahia Diocese, Rt. Rev. Geoffrey Ibeabuchi, directed that all adult members of the church must get their PVCs or risk being denied certain rights and privileges by the church.
The Bishop said that henceforth, People coming for Child’s baptism/dedication, people coming for weddings, Confirmation candidates of 18 years and above, candidates for Anglican Youth Fellowship induction, those for admission into various groups of the church must first present their PVCs. He said that Diocesan Board members must present their PVCs in the next meeting.
Bishop Ibeabuchi said that the church has made plans with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials to visit their churches to enable their members to register on Sundays after church services.
On the 2023 general elections, the Bishop encouraged Christians to get involved in the political process, and called on churches to mobilize all their groups and organs for political engagement.
“People of God, the year 2023 will afford our nation another opportunity to choose our leaders and we cannot be sentimental or sell our birthright over a plate of pottage.
“Buying and selling of votes must be completely avoided,” he warned.
“Politics is not a dirty game and we congratulate our members who have taken the bull by the horn. As a Synod, we encourage all citizens to get involved, register in any political party of your choice and be part of the selection process from the Ward to the National levels,” he added.
He warned youths of the Diocese against making themselves available to be used as political thugs during the 2023 general elections, while enjoining all members of the church to shun voter apathy but should troop out to vote for their preferred candidates on election days.
The Synod, which has the theme “Consider Your Way: A Call To An Urgent Self-examination,” ends on Sunday.