No 2023 Elections in Nigeria “if insecurity persists unabated”: Christian Leaders

Members of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) with President Muhammadu Buhari. Credit: Presidency of Nigeria

Representatives of Christian leaders in Nigeria have expressed concern about persistent insecurity in the West African nation saying the 2023 general elections might not take place.

Addressing participants Monday, April 11 at the Inclusive Security Dialogue Meeting that was jointly organized by Global Peace Foundation and Vision Africa, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Samson Ayokunle, said, “Care must be taken to ensure that the 2023 election does not become a sham.”

In a Tuesday, April 12 report, Rev. Ayokunle has been quoted as saying, “If insecurity persists unabated, there will be no election in 2023.”

“Politicians move around, campaign, and make all manner of promises without taking into cognisance the security state of the nation,” the CAN official says.

He adds, “The way things are going now, bandits and other non-state actors might overwhelm us before 2023?”


“These criminals are moving from one level of sophistication and recklessness to another. and unfortunately, our security agents are becoming overwhelmed. There are indications that the intelligence gathering of the bandits seem to be higher than that of the state actors,” Rev. Ayokunle says.

The official of the forum that includes representatives of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) queries, “Why has the government not deemed it fit to expose those financing terrorism and insecurity in Nigeria? For whose benefit are you hiding their identity? Nigerians want to know those who have put us in this mess as well as those who are siding and abetting them”

“Nigerians want a better society, and if we do not deal with this insecurity, I don't think there will be any election in 2023,” Rev. Ayokunle reiterated. 

Nigeria has been experiencing insecurity since 2009 when Boko Haram insurgency began with the aim of turning the country into an Islamic state.

Since then, the group, one of largest Islamist groups in Africa, has been orchestrating indiscriminate terrorist attacks on various targets, including religious and political groups as well as civilians.

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The situation of insecurity in the West African nation has further been complicated by the involvement of the predominantly Muslim Fulani herdsmen, also referred to as the Fulani Militia, who have been clashing frequently with Christian farmers reportedly over grazing land.

In the April 12 report, CAN president commends President Muhammadu Buhari for the new Electoral Act, but reminds him that the “Act alone cannot guarantee free, fair and credible elections that would be acceptable to the majority of the people.”

He urges the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to be sincere in its approach to the forthcoming elections and ensure a level playing ground for all interested persons. 

“If we are going to have a free and fair 2023 election, we must embrace 'homegrown democracy', which recognizes our complexities and is ready to make sure that we distribute things fairly so that the six geo-political zones are drafted into the leadership of this country at all times so that every region will have a sense of belonging because no one wants to play the second fiddle,” Rev. Ayokunle says.

Last month, CAN leadership said persistent insecurity in Nigeria constituted the “biggest threat” to the 2023 general elections in Africa’s most populous nation.


Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.