Primaries: Catholic Church Slams Politicians for Promoting Money Politics

*Condemns alleged dollar rain on delegates
Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Catholic Church in Nigeria has expressed worry over what it described as greedy and transactional politics as exemplified from the outcome of the various party primaries conducted by the political parties.

Speaking in an interview with journalists shortly after the church service at the St. Gabriel Chaplaincy, Catholic Secretariat in Durumi, Abuja, to mark this year’s World Communication Day, the Director of Social Communication of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Fr. Mike Umoh, said the level of abuse of the democratic process was becoming worrisome.

He said: “Politicians are at it again playing their music, dancing and listening to themselves. What is going on at the moment with the primaries is very disheartening to say the least. The manner the primaries are proceeding simply boils down to the fact that we are not listening.

“Our politicians are not listening to the people. Our politicians keep drumming to themselves and dancing to their drums, not to the people. The signs from the primaries so far are very disheartening and worrisome.

“We just hope and pray that even if politicians refuse to listen to them, the people themselves should decide to listen to their own song and do the right thing because no politicians will indeed succeed without using the same people they are oppressing.”

Umoh said the philosophy behind the relationship between the oppressed and the oppressor was that the oppressor would never relinquish power to the oppressed, unless the oppressed realises himself, his needs and wants and work to wrestle that power away.

He, however, lamented that from the way things were going, many of the oppressed were still allowing politicians to play bread and butter politics with them.  

In reference to what went on during the presidential primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the weekend, the cleric alleged that dollars and naira could be seen exchanging hands, adding that it was clear that the delegates were not choosing persons who would help the people, they are simply voting for people who gave them money. He said by their action, the delegates were mortgaging their future and prolonging the terrible situation of the country.

According to the priest, what was happening calls for more conscious efforts by the people to wrestle power and fight against these oppressors.

Speaking on this year’s World Communications Day, Umoh said Pope Francis proposed the theme “Listen”, urging all Catholics and the whole of humanity to cultivate the habit of listening with the ear of the heart.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has taken this initiative a step further by expanding the universal one-day celebration of the media to a one-week celebration.
Thus, they came up with the Communications Week (ComWEEK) programme and the maiden edition concludes today.

On his part, the Secretary General of the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Zachariah Samjumi said the main focus of this year’s Communications day was summed up in the injunction given by Pope Francis urging citizens of the world to learn to listen to one another.

He said the crisis in families and various communities could be traced to inability to listen and perhaps try to understand the position of each other in our daily encounter.

“Through this initiative, the Bishops of Nigeria are consciously calling for greater awareness to the power of the media for evangelisation and for good democratic citizenship. They directed that this media literacy programme be celebrated in all parishes all over Nigeria.

“We are quite aware that the beginnings are not usually easy, but pray that this humble beginning, like the mustard seed, watered by the power of the Holy Spirit, will flourish to bring freshness and newness upon our Church and society at large,” he said.

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