The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan has warned against any attempt to impose one faith over the other, saying religious harmony is an inalienable fundamental right of every citizen.
He also said that for the country to achieve the desired heights, politicians must see their office as a call to service and not for a personal enrichment, stressing that it is the only way to a better society.
He said if political office is seen as an opportunity to genuinely serve the people, honest people would vie for political offices.
“Politics is not a game of deceit for a few criminals and dishonest people. Rather, politics has to do with how our society is organised”, he noted
Cardinal Onaiyekan, who made this known in a homily at the thanksgiving mass, held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ado-Ekiti, to round off the centenary celebration of the Catholic faith in Ekiti State, also warned against turning Nigeria into a one religion state.
“To avoid this, we need to imbibe a spirit that is conducive to peace and harmony within, despite our differences and diversities. such a spirit calls for one another ‘s religious conviction while holding firm to one’s own, eschewing any form of force or imposition of one faith over another; recognising religious freedom as an inalienable fundamental human right of every citizen,” he added.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal in his brief remarks at the occasion, commended the Catholic Church for its various intervention programmes, which he noted were aimed at improving the welfare of Nigerians, especially in education and health just as he hailed the Church as the most organized group in the country.
Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi promised that his administration will continue to partner the church to ensure a better society.
He also tasked the church on the need to remain steadfast in prayers for peace in the state, especially as another round of governorship elections was just around the corner.
In his own remarks, the Bishop of Ekiti and host of the event, Bishop Femi Ajakaye said the diocese had reasons to thank God for celebrating 100 years of Catholic faith in Ekiti.
Some of the dignitaries that attended the ceremony include the Rivers State governor, Rotimi Amaechi; Governor Kayode Fayemi and his wife, Bisi; the Papal Pro Nuncio, Augustine Kassuja, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, Most Rev Alaba Job, bishops and hundreds of Catholic clerics from within and outside Nigeria.
Catholic faith was founded in Ekiti State in the year 1913 and the first mass was held in Usi Ekiti by a priest of the Society of African Mission (SMA).