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Accessing political power through the ladder of religion has been described as a detrimental process that could lead to violence and retardation of socio-economic growth. This assertion was made by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev. Matthew Hassan Kukah in his homily at the ordination ceremony of three new Deacons for the diocese, held at the Holy Family Catholic Cathedral, Sokoto.


The celebration which also marked the rededication of the Cathedral and the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary was attended by dignitaries from all walks of life from different parts of the diocese; including priests, religious, Knights of the Church, lay faithful and families of the ordinands.


Noting that the country has been on trial in the last few years, Bishop Kukah expressed concern that against all expectations the country is yet to turn a new leaf and end all forms of discrimination and divisions among the people after the last elections. He continued: “Sadly, we seem again to have done what we do best, namely, squander these chances and allow the dark forces of bigotry, prejudice and greed to take hold and today, we are far more divided than we have ever been in the history of our nation.”


Urging Christians to be steadfast in times of challenges, the bishop assured them in the words of Christ that:  “When these things begin to happen, look up, and hold your heads high, because the time when God will free you, your redemption is near at hand.”


He continued: “There are cries of shrill Islamization across the land. Yet, these cries arise when those in power use religious affiliation and blatant nepotism as means of access to power. When they do, they turn these identities into weapons of war among its innocent but savagely abused citizenry.” The bishop added: “If power favours a religion, it diminishes that religion badly. Nothing exposes this tragedy more than the irony of those in power turning their people into a tragic and unproductive cesspool of poverty, ignorance, decay, death and destitution.


The homilist noted that it is bad government that produces violence and not the ordinary people, adding: “This is what has thrown our nation into the chaos we are in now.”


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