Cardinal John Onaiyekan, Kaigama, Abuja

…Says party’ll take responsibility for its decision

…Vows not to vote for party

Notes Catholic faithful’ll decide who to vote for

By Shina Abubakar

The Archbishop Emeritus of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, said yesterday that the Catholic Church has not taken a position on the Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in 2023 presidential elections.

He, however, said Catholic faithful would decide individually the candidate to vote for in the presidential election but vowed not to vote for the ruling party because of the same-faith ticket,

Delivering a paper, titled “The Church as an Agent of Dialogue and Reconciliation In Our Community In Quest For a Just and Peaceful Social Order,” at the ongoing First Synod of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo at St. Kizito Pastoral Centre, Ede, Osun State, Cardinal Onaiyekan said:  “You will note that the Catholic Bishop Conference has not taken any action on Muslim-Muslim ticket of All Progressives Congress on this matter.

”The reason is that the ticket is a political decision taken by the party on the calculation that is their best way to win the election or assure their victory in 2023 general election.

“There is no point telling them not to take such a decision, all you can say is that they will have to accept responsibility for the decision they have taken. I only have one voter’s card and by God’s grace, I will use it. I will definitely not vote for Muslim/Muslim ticket, that is my decision.

“But since it is a political decision of a political party, what the church can do officially is bring out this fact and tell people that they should take their political decision accordingly”.

He recalled that the church warned APC’s Campaign Director General, Governor Simon Lalong, for dragging the name of the Pope into his appointment, adding that his apology was, however, accepted having realised his short-comings.

“When the APC leadership appointed governor of Plateau State, Solomon Lalong, as the Director-General of Campaign Council of APC, who is a Catholic, he took the decision politically.

”The only time we called him to order was when he dragged the name of Pope into the appointment and political discussion.  He tendered his apologies which were accepted by us because he is a member of Papal knight,” Cardinal Onaiyekan said.

According to him, APC is a legitimate political party in the country, with its members cutting across various religious sects, including Catholic Church, hence individuals would have to take their decisions on their own.

He added:  “APC is still considered as a legitimate party in Nigeria. Many Catholics are in APC, not only as members but also hold vital positions.  According to our church, we are not involved in partisan politics.”

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