The Communications Director, Enugu Catholic Diocese, Rev. Fr. Benjamin Achi, has called on the religious not to be afraid but be factual in condemning government failure in providing purposeful leadership to Nigerians.
Achi made the assertion on Thursday in Enugu while reacting to the quit notice given to the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Hassan Kukah, by the Muslim Solidarity Forum to leave Sokoto State over his Christmas message.
He said that there was the need for government at various levels to be made to provide purposeful leadership by doing things aright when religious leaders speak out.
The Catholic priest wondered why the Muslim Forum would ever think of issuing such an order to Kukah, when all he said concerning the state of the nation was true.
“Those who have been crying foul about his message have not been able to say, yes, you said this and this and they are not true.
“They have not been able to point out anything in that message that was an embezzlement of the fact on ground.
“He was saying things exactly the way they are. Their problem is why this person should be speaking from his own position because he is a Christian leader and the man in the helm of affairs happens to be from another religion.
“But we are not talking about religion here. We are talking about good governance. We are talking about representing the goals, the aspirations and the interests of the people.
“That is actually what he has been addressing all along. So, it is not really about religion but trying to reduce everything to the level of religion and that is where they are making mistakes about his message,” Achi said.
The diocesan director of communication said that religious leaders had the obligation to be the voice of the people, especially when things are not going well.
“Any religious leader who is not interested in ensuring that the rule of law, justice, equity and fairness are enthroned, is in the wrong vocation.
“There is no way you call yourself a religious leader, you are representing God in the midst of people and cannot stand for all those ideals, all those virtues that God has always expected of us.
“So, Bishop Kukah is doing what he should be doing and what as a matter of fact, every religious leader should be doing,” he added.
He noted that Bishop Kukah like every other Nigerians, had the constitutional right to air his opinion on matters affecting the people, including criticising the activities of the government.
According to him, every objective Nigerian will admit that Bishop Kukah has been consistent when it comes to talking about issues of public interest. (NAN)