A governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress in Benue State, Fr. Hyacinth Alia, on Sunday has given reasons for ditching the pulpit and venturing into politics.
The Gboko Catholic Diocese in the state had suspended the priest over his partisanship.
In the latest statement issued by his media aide, Donald Kumun, which was made available to our correspondent on Sunday, had the priest’s argument that there are benefits in the clergy participating in politics, saying it is to rekindle the hope of people of the state.
He decried the plight of civil servants and pensioners, who according to him, were made to live below poverty level despite their labour and sacrifices to the state.
The priest also said the development index of the state was not encouraging, stating that he had come to harness the natural resources the state is blessed with for the betterment of the people of the state.
He said, “The code of canon law never imagined that in the world of man, there would exist a state where the governor would hold back the salaries, pensions and gratuities of citizens, allowing them to die slowly but surely.
“They never imagined that there would be a governor who would refuse to listen to a Catholic bishop begging for the payment of workers’ salaries in the way and manner that Bishop Avenya (Catholic Bishop of Gboko) has done in Benue State.
“They never knew it would be possible for a governor to stay in power for almost eight years with literally nothing to show for it by way of infrastructural development.
“They never thought of a situation where a state would produce numerous raw materials with practically no industry to process them; while the government plans to sell the existing state-owned industries.
“They never imagined that poor farmers, who are not benefiting anything from the government, would be made to pay cut-throat taxes on their farm produce.
“None of the drafters of the code of canon law imagined that a state will deliberately increase school fees in government-owned tertiary institutions in a way that makes it impossible for the children of the poor to go to school.”
“Certainly, they never knew there would be a state in Nigeria where a government would deliberately and consciously impoverish its citizens just to make them politically pliable.
“The canon law never envisaged a state that would turn her highly intelligent youths into political thugs instead of engaging them productively just to mention but a few.”
The governorship aspirant vowed to right all the perceived wrongs if given the mandate, and promised that at the expiration of his tenure he would return to his pulpit ministry.