The Metropolitan Archbishop of Enugu Anglican Province, Most. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma has advised religious leaders to consider making the possession of permanent voters cards (PVCs) a pre-condition for conducting their parishioners’ weddings and burials.
Chukwuma added that he would, however, not encourage fellow bishops to deny their members Holy Communion for not presenting PVCs because it is “a means of grace.”
The cleric spoke during a press conference to herald the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Enugu Anglican Diocese weekend in Enugu.
He said the stringent measure may be necessary to show how important the PVC is in the selection of who leads the nation and various states in 2023.
He urged politicians to promote politics without bitterness and to deepen democracy by making people’s votes count.
His words: “Politics without bitterness is what we want. Therefore, we’re saying that for that to be deepened, people’s votes must be counted.
“For this reason, we’re encouraging all our members to go and register for permanent voters cards (PVC) and have your voters card.
“I don’t want to be like some bishops who said no PVC, no Holy Communion. No. Holy Communion is a means of grace. It’s important. There are other ways you can sanction.
“I can say, ‘okay, if you don’t have your PVCs, your weddings and burials will not be conducted.’ It has reached that extent. So, people should go and register and have their PVCs”.
The Archbishop lamented that Southeasterners seemed not to be taking the registration for PVCs seriously, saying such attitude was already keeping themselves backwards.
“The people in the Southeast, we are really negatively dealing with ourselves by not registering. These things can even be used for population. The Southeast should not shortchange itself by not registering. Once you are up to 18 years and above, you should go and register. The church is much concerned about this so that during 2023 elections, we will be able to have our say”, Chukwuma said.
On the 50th anniversary celebration of the diocese, the prelate said the Enugu Anglican Diocese became 50 in August last year, having been created in August 1970 with Rt. Rev. Gideon Nweke Otubele as its first bishop.
“We mapped out robust programmes to celebrate 50 years of Enugu Diocese but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we shifted it to this year.
“We have started the programme with a crusade which is going to last till Sunday next week. The programmes, including rallies, talks, and visitations will end with a thanksgiving service on the 5th of December at the Cathedral of Good Shepherd, Enugu” he said.
Other activities, he said, would be the commissioning of a diagnostic centre of the church’s Hospital, the Good Shepherd Hospital
The Enugu Diocese, he noted, had since its creation, given birth to eleven other dioceses
The diocese, he added, is out to execute pragmatic evangelism; care for the poor, the widows and orphans, the less privileged and the displaced.