The Anglican Bishop of Ibadan North in Oyo, Rt. Rev. William Aladekugbe, has urged youths and Nigerians to use the Lenten season to desist from election violence, political thuggery and vote buying.
Aladekugbe gave the advice in his Lent Season message, made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Ibadan.
Aladekugbe urged all especially youths to cast their votes peacefully and prayerfully while trusting that God’s will would be done.
“This season requires that we trust the Lord to lead and direct us in all our activities as we seek to have His will enthroned in our lives and our nation especially in the days ahead.
“In this critical time, we should watch and pray. We call on all Christians to get involved in the general elections and ensure that those to be elected to lead the nation and states are men and women with proven integrity and capacity.
“We appeal to all who are qualified to vote to cast their votes wisely and prayerfully, this time too shall surely pass away,” he said.
As the Lent Season begins tomorrow with Ash Wednesday, Aladekugbe urged Christians to follow the example of our Lord Jesus, share in His sufferings and glory.
He also enjoined them to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and retire to the wilderness of solitude for fasting and communion with God to crucify the flesh with its desire and lust.
“Our message to the Church is to be fervent in prayers, abstain from all forms of sinful acts to attract the grace, mercy, favour and blessings of God.
“The period should be that of sober reflections, a time to seek the face of God through His word in prayers and good deeds.
“It is providential that the Christian’s period of 40 days’ fasting is beginning few days before the general elections.
“The country needs to acknowledge God and totally depend on Him for the good choice of the next set of leaders in Nigeria.
“We are presently going through a lot and from all indications, it is only God who could assist us,” he said.
According to him, the protracted naira crisis has caused hunger and anger in the land, worsened by the refusal of banks to accept the deposit of old notes and cash crunch.
Aladekugbe adds that Ash Wednesday is a solemn reminder of human mortality and the need for reconciliation with God and it marks the beginning of the penitential Lenten season.
“It is commonly observed with ashes and fasting. It is a period of penitential preparation for Easter.
“Ash Wednesday is a holy day of prayer and fasting. It is the first day of Lent and always falls forty-six days before Easter.
“On Ash Wednesday, Christians abstain from eating. Which-ever way we go about it, our earnest prayers is that may our fast be a testimony and witness of our humble submission to His high majesty,” he said.