Nigeria’s National Peace Committee Warns of “voter suppression” in Gubernatorial Polls

Credit: Nsukka Diocese

Members of the  National Peace Committee (NPC) in Nigeria who include representatives of the Catholic Bishops in the West African nation have warned against voter suppression through “ethnic and religious labels” ahead of the Gubernatorial polls.

On March 8, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the postponement of the country’s election of new governors for 28 of the 36 States by one week, from March 11 to March 18, citing challenges in logistics.

In a statement obtained by ACI Africa Friday, March 17, NPC members who include Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese and John Cardinal Onaiyekan urge INEC to ensure that the gubernatorial elections are peaceful.

“We are worried by the open threats of intimidation and violence by certain elements within the society who are using ethnic and religious labels to achieve their intentions of voter suppression,” they say in the statement signed by the committee’s chairman, General Abdusalami Abubakar.

NPC members appeal to the security and law enforcement agencies in Africa’s most populous nation “to remain alert and to bring to book anyone, no matter their position in society who poses a threat to the peaceful conduct of the elections.”


The members of the Non-Governmental Organization conceptualized in 2014 to respond to emerging threats occasioned by the 2015 general elections urge the Nigerian electorate not to be intimidated by the threats but to turn out and participate in the gubernatorial elections.

Nigeria conducted the first phase of the general elections on February 25. 

On March 1, INEC declared the ruling party candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, winner of the presidential election with 8.8 million votes against 6.9 million garnered by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr. Atiku Abubakar, and  6.1 million votes by Labour Party’s (LP), Mr. Peter Obi.

PDP and LP candidates disputed the results, accusing the INEC of not uploading the presidential results from the polling stations.

In their statement dated March 16, the members of the Peace Council in Nigeria say they are “pleased and encouraged by the matured attitudes of the candidates who contested the Presidential elections.”

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NPC members add, “We are encouraged by the restraint they have exhibited and their commitment to seek justice through due process.”

“We appeal to the supporters of all the parties and our citizens to please follow a good example of their leaders and remain law abiding till the process is brought to an end,” say members of the committee that brings together faith leaders, politicians, and Nigeria’s business community.

They thank the security agencies for their resilience in the presidential elections and urge the INEC to gain the confidence of the citizens by ensuring that the Gubernatorial polls are fair and credible.

Silas Mwale Isenjia is a Kenyan journalist with a great zeal and interest for Catholic Church related communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communication from Moi University in Kenya. Silas has vast experience in the Media production industry. He currently works as a Journalist for ACI Africa.