Bishop Solomon Amatu of the Catholic Diocese of Okigwe has enjoined politicians and their supporters to ensure that the 2019 general election is conducted under a free-and-fair atmosphere.
Amatu gave the advice in an interview with journalists after dedicating the newly completed St. Ita’s Catholic Church building, Ibeme in Isiala Mbano Local Government Area of Imo on Thursday.
He said that politics should not be a do-or-die affair as hitherto practised in some quarters in the country but should be seen as a brotherly affair.
The bishop advised Nigerians, especially the Catholic faithful, to ensure they register for and collect their PVCs so that they could elect candidates that could represent them well during the election.
The bishop expressed gratitude to God for the dedication of the church, saying through it men and women would be drawn closer to God, while children would be thought the basic doctrine of the Catholic Church’s faith.
The former governor of Imo, Chief Ihedi Ohakim, in his goodwill message, described the church as one of the biggest in the country, and a legacy for generations.
Ohakim said: “This church means a lot to our people. It is the church where Bishop Gregory Ochiagha one of the prominent bishops in Imo, was ordained a priest. My prayer is that the church will continue to grow.”
Speaking on the forthcoming election, Ohakim described the PVC as a weapon to destroy unemployment and poverty and advised the people to register and collect their PVCs.
He commended INEC for listening to the voice of the people by extending the date for the voters’ registration.
Ohakim advised the people to use the opportunity of the extension to register.
The pastor –in-charge of the parish, Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Odoh, expressed gratitude to God for keeping the parishioners alive to witness the dedication of the church which building he said spanned over two decades.
Odoh said: “The population of the congregation is increasing, the people are also increasing in faith and spirituality; the parish has continued to turnout indigenous priests and seminarians almost on a yearly basis.”
Odoh thanked members of the congregation for contributing to the growth, building and completion of the church which he said gulped about N200 million.
Princess Gloria Akobundu, the Special Adviser to the President on New Partnership for Africa’s Development, expressed happiness that the church’s dedication became a reality.
She thanked all the bishops and priests that were part of the success story and urged the people to continue to seek the face of God in the midst of their challenges.