President Muhammadu Buhari has called on the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) for more prayers against challenges confronting the country.
The President, represented by Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, made the call on Sunday at the opening of the first 2022 CBCN Plenary meeting.
The meeting which will run till March 11 at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Abuja, has the theme: “Path to Building Human Fraternity and Sustainable Peace in Nigeria”.
Buhari thanked the CBCN for all their prayers since the beginning of his administration and for always standing for good governance and wellbeing of the nation.
The president prayed for successful deliberations and emergence of new leaders at the end of the meeting who would work for the church and the country.
In his address, Archbishop Augustine Akubeze, the President of CBCN, said the theme of the meeting “addresses the core of our being”.
He said the plenary would examine ways that could lead to human fraternity that would give the country sustainable peace.
The archbishop said the starting point was for everyone to know “we are all children of the same God”.
“We share in same societal pain and joy, we share in same justice and injustice; peace that is sustainable in Nigeria requires our collective action.
“The state of our nation is one in which we have come to discover that God is still very much at work in our land in spite of all our failures.
“We have failed God as individuals who allow corruption to deprive us of living the good life God has given to us.
“We have failed God in allowing insecurity and criminality to thrive,” he said.
The Archbishop urged Nigerians to exercise their right to vote and speak out to protect the votes.
He advised eligible Nigerians to get their permanent voter cards and get ready to vote according to their personal conviction of who would be capable to lead Nigeria forward.
Akubeze said Nigerians should resist the temptation of falling prey to divisive political campaign.
“Vote for those who can ensure security of life and property.
“Vote for those who have showed that they have the capacity to unite us as a people.
“Vote for people who possess the capacity to make Nigeria into an industrial hub for Africa.
“Vote for people who can make Nigeria a land of opportunity for all and can make our dreams come to life.”
The CBCN President said that with prayers, God will not disappoint the nation.
According to him, Nigerians must help one another to reach their destination through common solitude for the spiritual growth of each other.
He emphasised that 2022 offered the country and its people the opportunity to fix what they failed to fix in the preceding years.
The Archbishop, therefore, called for intense prayers for the church and the country.
Meanwhile, former Catholic Bishop of Umuahia and Apostolic Administrator of Ahiara Diocese, Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji,
has been appointed the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri Diocese.
The announcement was made on Sunday by Archbishop Antonio Filipazzi, the representative of the Pope in Nigeria, during the ongoing meeting.
Ugorji succeeds Archbishop Anthony Obinna who retired after holding the position since March 26, 1994.NAN