Catholic Priest Suspended For Interest In Benue Governorship Seat Defends Himself, Vows To Return To The Pulpit Later

The Catholic priest, Rev. Fr Hyacinth Alia who was recently suspended after declaring interest in contesting the ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to become the next Benue State Governor has reacted to the suspension.

Alia said the suspension didn’t come to him as a shock as he was prepared to face and make sacrifices since he took the decision to join the governorship race.

Naija News recalls the Catholic Bishop of Gboko Diocese in Benue state, Most Rev. William Avenya on Saturday evening announced the suspension of Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia from priesthood over involvement in partisan politics.

Avenya in a letter dated 21/5/2022, disclosed that the suspension takes immediate effect.

However, Alia said his resolve has not been dampened by the decision adding that he understands why the Church took such a decision.

He however added that after his political sojourn, he would return to the church, put on his robes and continue the priestly duties.

According to him, he is on a mission to save the people of Benue State from years of bad administration.

The clergyman turned politician in a post on his Facebook page wrote: “From the day I took the decision to answer the overwhelming calls of my people to contest the governorship of Benue with the aim to rescue our people from the shackles of maladministration, I was fully aware of the sacrifice I was going to make.

“And I am convinced that it is worth the cause I am fighting to serve the souls of Benue people and the state. I remain resolute and please don’t be anxious either because I am well prepared and focused.

“More importantly, I am more charged because I have seen the genuineness in the agitations for me to step in and help salvage the already sorry situation the state has found itself for some time.

“As stated in the last paragraph of the suspension letter, I shall return to the public pulpit after I must have served out my mandate as the Governor of Benue state.”

Speaking on the canon law of the Catholic church which forbids clerics from being involved in partisan politics, Alia through his spokesman, Donald Kumun pointed out that those who formulate the laws never imagined a time that the political leaders would be oppressing the people and clergy will be needed to save the people.

He went ahead to list some of the ills been suffered by the people of Benue which is pushing him to step in and rescue them.

“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,” he was quoted as saying.

“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,” he added.

This article was originally published on Nigeria News