Primate of Nigeria’s Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, has urged clerics across the country to maintain political neutrality on the pulpit.
Addressing newsmen at the sidelines of a stakeholders’ meeting organised for eminent Anglicans in Abuja.
The archbishop warned that “on no account should a cleric surrender his pulpit for politicians to carry out any form of political campaign.”
The pulpit is for preaching the word of God, not for endorsing political candidates as done by some clerics, the primate noted.
Okoh asserted that any cleric using the pulpit for political campaign was doing something that is inconsistent with the teachings of the bible.
He said: “In our diocese, we don’t give politicians opportunity to use the church for campaign. It could happen elsewhere, but not in our church. The pulpit is dedicated for preaching the word of God, not for politics or criticising a friend or enemy.
“If you go to the service of dedication, you will see that the pulpit is for preaching the word of God. So, anybody surrendering his pulpit for political campaign is doing the wrong thing.”
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the amended electoral act, if the country is ready for elections next year.
“People want the electoral act signed. I don’t know whether these people are in the majority or minority; but of course if we are going to have an election, I think the president should sign it,” he said.
He warned against making provocative statements in the build-up to the elections.
“Those making provocative statements should not set us at conflict with one another because if you look at most of these statements, they are made from the point of self-advancement. They (politicians) calculated that their chances are limited and they begin to talk.
“We appeal to everyone to ensure that we still have a country because if there is a country, all of us will be in a good condition; but if there is no country, everybody scatters,” he said.
Okoh disclosed that the church decided to summon prominent Anglicans to find solutions to some internal crises.