by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Plateau state recently held an inaugural ceremony to usher-in newly elected members of its Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
While speaking at the event, Msgr. Prof. Cletus Gotan in his paper disclosed that, “Plateau people have to set aside their differences and work together in collaboration to deliver the greatness that will recognize their wellbeing and aspire to work towards uplifting the living standard of the people and for plateau to achieve its the greatness.”
Msgr. Gotan charged the newly elected members to “rise out of the dust created at the election” so as to provide purposeful leadership to complement the effort of government to build the new plateau state that would inspire confidence, honesty, property and togetherness and, again, to support peaceful coexistence among the people.
The Monsignor further urged them to check up the correct frustration and disappointment by recognizing the need for a conflict platform indispensable to an effective and efficient implementation of policies and programs that touch the heart of the people.
He noted that, “Religion is so crucial to the existence of Nigeria and, we the people of religion, must work together, direct their members to reflect in their lives. The true positive values of their religion help to build rather than destroy; gather, rather than scatter.
“Unfortunately, compromise has been made even by spiritual leaders for materials gain, which explains why leadership circle is seen not as a service but as ‘a passport to material prosperity,’” he observed.
“Some of the religious leaders contribute in putting up the system on soliciting prophecy of arms. Christian and Muslim leaders often demonstrate by their own edifying verbal exchange by the existence of one nation bound in freedom and have matters, left to them, as long as they promote their religious agenda.
Msgr Gotan prayed that, “Let the dialogue within their Muslim brothers and sisters go beyond the level of mere cardinality that we must be able to seriously put issues that cause conflict or tension between Christians and Muslims on the table and the front-corner of discussion.
“Why should we be killing ourselves or destroying herds and means of livelihoods in the name of religion?, he queried, and urged them to “do more things that unite us than divide us.”
He also reminded the newly inaugurated CAN exco that, CAN is not meant to be the charity arm of government, much as it exists to seek areas of cooperation among the Churches to carry out the great commission or the mandate of the Lord, “to speak the Gospel to every creature” and carry out the other noble and the clear objectives set out in the constitution.
He said, they should also touch their members in government, which they also need the word of God to speak to their consciences to continue their match towards the greater, bitter, just, most secure and prosperous plateau.
“If we are to achieve our collective dreams of uplifting the lives of our people, this alone with good conscience, the unity among Christians is not simply an issue, fall on our attitude or circumstances, it is cardinal and fundamental to the Christians’ message itself,” he stressed.
He urged them to be all hands on deck, with the help of God, to do good in all the ways that they can to the people, and advised them not to be crowned but a team and each of them being a Sheppard of the other.
“There is the need for plateau people to come together, no matter their differences – whether cultural, tribal, denominations or political; unity means, combining or joining separate things or entities to form one,” Gotan noted.
Speaking earlier, outgoing chairman of CAN, Plateau state, Rev. Dr Soja Bewarang, said the 6 years of his administration appreciate the support of government in many ways, and urged the government to extend same to the new leadership because it’s a very unique organization.
He warned the new exco to “Beware of 2023, saying that he went through hell in 2019, and it’s not from outside the Church, it is from within the Church that I was almost buried alive.
“2023 has started already and, if you are not careful, those in need will drag you away. Try to be neutral as you can, because you are leaders for all denominations, which is going to come in with tribalism; ethnicity is going to come and, if you are not careful, it would tear you apart,” he cautioned.
In his own acceptance speech, the in-coming chairman, Rev. Fr Polycap Lubo, promised to do his best to foster the unity of Christians in the state and, possibly, the nation at large.
He commended its pass exco and the government and appealed to the plateau people to comply with government’s protocol put in place to check the spread of COVID-19 pandemic that is ravaging the world.
According to him, they will push their deeds of needs to restore plateau state to its lost glory as “Home of Peace and Tourism,” and promised his best not to let them down.