REPORTER: CHRISTIAN NWANGENE
Christian youths from the South-East zone comprising Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states have converged on Abakaliki for a one-day prayer summit to seek divine intervention in the 2023 general elections.
The prayer summit held at the St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Onuebonyi on Friday was organised by the Youth Wing Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) and attended by over 300 youths from across different Christian denominations in the zone.
In an address, YOWICAN Zonal Chairman, Rev. Oluchukwu Onuigwe, thanked the youth for answering a clarion call to gather to seek God’s intervention in the 2023 general election.
He said that the summit, which usually bought together Christian youth leaders in the South-East started in 2019, adding that the Abakaliki summit was the third in the series.
The clergyman, who spoke on the essence of the 2022 summit in Abakaliki, said that the 2023 general election would mark a major milestone in the country’s democratic match hence the need for Christians to pray hard for peace and success of the polls.
Rev. Onuigwe added that there was always an unusual release of power when Christians gathered together to pray under a corporate anointing, stressing that Nigeria needed prayers to overcome myriad of security challenges bedevilling her and for a peaceful transition in 2023.
The cleric said: “We have done two summits since 2019. This year’s summit is more critical because of what is happening; in our summit, we sit down to evaluate matters of regional and national interest.
”This year’s own we are looking at the security of the South-East, we are looking at the ‘almighty’ 2023 election and the things that we need to do and the things we do not need to do.
“2023 election is an election that is very critical in the history of Nigeria. It is going to be an epoch-making event and youths are no longer the leaders of the future; the youths are the leaders of now, we need to take back our country.”
The cleric also warned youths to desist from illicit drug intake and urged them to shun all forms of electoral violence and hooliganism as well as resist being used as political thugs by desperate politicians.
The Rev. Onuigwe called on the youths to obtain their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) and advised them against trading their PVCs for any price.
He explained that the voter card was the only power in their hands to enthrone a secure, peaceful and prosperous new Nigeria.
Earlier, the Vice-Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) South-East zone, Dr. S. C. Nwokolo, in a keynote address, traced security challenges, food insecurity and other forms of social maladies afflicting Nigeria to a product of poor leadership orchestrated by past leaders.
Dr. Nwokolo represented by Dr. Collins Okafor, alleged that most of the present crop of leaders had continued to recycle themselves in political leadership while killings, insecurity and untold economic hardship had continued unabated in Nigeria.
He said time had come for youths to rise and take back the country through the PVC revolution and not the weapon revolution.
He said that unless the youths rose and take back the country, the vicious circle would continue unabated.
“If you and I do not do something about it today, when we will be 60, 70 years, these same names revolving around the corridors of leadership in Nigeria will still be the names present at the table of leadership in Nigeria.
”But, that will not be the case because our actions, our prayers will change the narratives in 2023,” Dr. Nwokolo said.
Meanwhile, in a paper presentation titled, ‘Thuggery, Illicit Drugs Intake And Effects On The Society,’ Vice Chairman of YOWICAN, Mr. Christian Nwangene urged Christian youths to abstain from the illicit use of prohibited substances and lead an exemplary Christian life.
Present at the occasion were Chairman, the CAN South-East zone and Senior Special Adviser on Religious Matters to Ebonyi State Governor, the Very Rev. Father Abraham Nwali; the South-East CAN treasurer, Bishop Anayo Igwe and others.
EDITED BY CHUKWUBUIKE MADU