Don’t Be Led by “your stomach” in Supporting Politicians, Archbishop Cautions Nigerians

Archbishop Ignatius Kaigama of Nigeria's Abuja Archdiocese. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese

The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja in Nigeria has urged the people of God in the West African nation to remember their civic duties ahead of the country’s elections and to seek to be guided by the Holy Spirit in selecting politicians and political parties to support.

In his New Year 2023 message, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama reminds Nigerians to maintain peace before, during, and after the elections slated for February 25 this year.

“Having faced multidimensional challenges, we in our nation in this time of democratic transition must all keep in mind the fact that our Lord makes demands of us to fulfill our civic responsibilities,” Archbishop Kiagama says in his January 1 message

He adds, “We have a duty to come out, each one of us, with a Permanent Voters Card, queue up at our polling units, conduct ourselves peacefully and orderly, get accredited, and cast our votes during the 2023 general elections.”

“As for the choice of political parties and candidates to vote for, we should be guided by the counsel of St. Paul, which says: ‘whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things’. In choosing who to vote, let your head and your heart guide you, not your stomach and your pocket!” he says.


The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop urges the people of God in the country to embrace dialogue to prevent what he refers to as predatory politicians from dividing the nation.

“It is in working together and in patient dialogue as Pope Francis urges in Fratelli Tutti, (no. 198) that we can prevent predatory politicians from using religion, ethnicity and regions against us, pitching us against one another,” he says.

The Local Ordinary of Abuja Archdiocese adds, “We have already seen that without solidarity, we have no chance against poverty, diseases, natural disasters, unemployment, ignorance, terrorism, insurgency and other forms of insecurity. So, let us embrace sincere dialogue and work in solidarity with all people of goodwill for a better country.”

Archbishop Kaigama cautions Nigerians against being ignorant of the challenges the country is facing, including deaths caused by human and natural reasons, insecurity, displacements, floods, economic hardships, and what he says are harsh realities in the country.

He urges politicians who are on the campaign trail in Africa’s most populous nation to do so without hatred, bitterness, incitement, or misinformation. 

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The politicians, Archbishop Kaigama says, “should exercise caution that they do not make wild and unrealistic campaign promises that deep in their hearts they know are not workable.”

“Christians, Muslims, African Traditional Religionists, and others are the ones to choose the next President of Nigeria,” he says.

Archbishop Kaigama adds, “We should set our eyes and attention only on the leaders who are ready to tackle the culture of hostility, violence, banditry, kidnapping, religious persecution, poverty, unemployment; failure to see that sensitive and core appointments be spread fairly to those very well qualified in the different geo-political zones”

He says that the determination to confront insecurity must be given priority in the agenda of those seeking to be elected. 

Those seeking elective positions, the Catholic Church leader says, must have the will to unveil those behind brutal attacks and murders in Nigeria.


He says that the resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) as well as the rebuilding of terrorized communities where homes, hospitals, churches, mosques, and schools have been destroyed should also get prime attention. 

According to the Nigerian Catholic Archbishop, there must be a deliberate pursuit of integration, bringing all people together in harmony that ensures freedom for all to create an inclusive mindset by recognizing the ethnic, tribal, regional, and religious diversity of Nigeria.

He underscores the need for proper management of the country’s diversity and plurality; building community, and creating more trust among all people in Nigeria. 

The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop who started his Episcopal Ministry in April 1995 as Bishop of Nigeria’s Jalingo Diocese says that there is a “very urgent need” to address the issue of poverty in the West African nation. 

“Our prayer during this year is that peace will flow like a river and social progress, human solidarity and development will characterize all of 2023,” he says, and adds, “As the psalmist says, ‘The Lord of hosts is with us and He is our stronghold’. May His spirit reign in every heart so that we can experience peace, social harmony, and progress.”

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Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.