Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong has called on Christians to actively participate in politics to enable them to contribute to national development.
The governor made the call in his remarks at the 14th Annual Conference of the Association of Papal Knights and Medalists in Nigeria in Jos.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Makut Macham, on Friday in Jos, Mr. Lalong said that their participation could add value to governance.
“Many have suggested, and rightly so, that Nigeria’s many challenges stem from poor leadership.
“However, a lot of people forget or do not realize that leadership does not begin and end with elections. It starts much earlier and continues afterward.
“As someone who has been in politics most of my adult life, I can say without fear of contradiction that leadership recruitment begins with the consciousness of the society on what kind of leadership it desires.
“This determines the level of participation or otherwise of the citizens in the process that identifies, adopts, and presents candidates for elections,” he said.
Mr. Lalong said many Christian brothers and sisters prefer to criticize those in government rather than be involved in politics to make a difference.
He said though the Catholic Church had always encouraged its members’ involvement in politics, more Christians need to occupy decision-making offices.
“That is why I appeal to the Church to continue to create avenues for constant engagements with Christian politicians for proper articulation of its interests and evaluation,” he said.
In her remarks, Esther Uduehi, National President of the Association of Papal Knights, said the association comprised Catholics who had been honored by the Church for contributions to the propagation of the gospel and for positively impacting humanity
She expressed concern over rising cases of religious intolerance, terrorism, and banditry that were affecting the economy and also inhibiting people from practicing their faith.
Joseph Ari, chairman of the occasion and director-general of the Industrial Training Fund, said the conference was a platform for discourse on how the church could contribute to the democratic process while also propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ.