Catholic Bishop in Nigeria Urges Electoral Body to Work Towards Winning Public Trust

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of Nigeria's Sokoto Diocese. Credit: Sokoto Diocese

The Catholic Bishop of Nigeria’s Sokoto Diocese has urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), a body that oversees elections in the west African country to work towards winning people’s trust as the country gears up for the November 11 off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states.

The repeat gubernatorial polls were organized to make up for what was described as irregularities in the March 18 polls.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, November 8, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah said that the electoral body had left a lot to be desired in conducting the March 18 polls. 

“INEC took the heat; it’s having a legitimacy crisis; it’s having a confidence and trust crisis. We must also understand that at least the sins of yesterday have to be cured so that tomorrow can be better,” Bishop Kukah said.

The Nigerian Catholic Bishop pointed out that “trust is essential in the conduct of elections, and institutions entrusted with this responsibility should function in a way that commands respect.”


“It’s about trust, but we fail to trust ourselves to deploy trust to institutions and those who run those institutions, but they must also function in a way and manner that commands respect,” he said.

Bishop Kukah called for greater focus on national issues and improving institutions in the country in light of the 2023 electoral process.

The vocal Nigerian Catholic Bishop who is also known for good governance advocacy told the electoral body to desist from complaining about a lack of resources, noting that substantial funds have been allocated for the elections.

“We cannot spend the time in the classroom; we must graduate to a new class of consciousness,” Bishop Kukah said.

He added, “There is a size of this country and limited resources, but INEC can no longer complain about lack of resources because we hear of the hundreds of billions that are being spent on INEC.” 

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The Bishop criticized the electoral entity for being “anxious in every election season.”

Off-cycle elections are held outside the general elections schedule due to circumstances such as death, resignation, impeachment, and annulment of elections by courts.

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.