Catholic Archbishop in Nigeria Decries Alleged Malpractices in Country’s Party Primaries

Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama with Priests of Mater Dei Gwagwalada Parish of the Archdiocese of Abuja. Credit: Abuja Archdiocese/Facebook

The Archbishop of Nigeria’s Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja has decried alleged political misconduct in the country’s ongoing party primaries ahead of the February 2023 elections, noting that some aspirants have bribed their way to victory.

In his Sunday, May 29 homily at Mater Dei Gwagwalada Parish of the Archdiocese of Abuja, Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama said that the primaries, which commenced over the weekend, had left many people “flabbergasted and sad”.

“The party primaries held by some political parties have left many Nigerians flabbergasted and sad. Instead of demonstrating love for democracy and exercising their civic responsibility, money was said to be the major factor,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He regretted the fact that leaders who are honest, God fearing and able to manage Nigeria and the country’s affairs with prudence had been disregarded in favor of those who could pay their way to top seats.

Among parties that conducted their preliminary elections on May 28 and 29 was Nigeria’s main opposition, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), which settled on Atiku Abubakar as the country’s next president. Mr. Abubakar is a Fulani Nigerian politician and businessman who served as the Vice President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007.


President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling All Progressives Congress party (APC), which was expected to select a candidate for the presidency of Africa’s most populous nation on May 30 and May 31 announced that it had pushed its party convention back a week to June 6 through June 8.

Reports indicate that in Nigeria, there are 18 registered political parties but that none of the others is as popular as PDP and APC.

In his May 29 homily, Archbishop Kaigama cautioned the people of God in the West African nation against being attracted by money in electing their political leaders.

“Nigerians must choose to listen to the voice of reason, not influenced by the attraction of money, and to be guided by what is honorable, just, pure, lovely, or gracious,” he said.

“We must listen to one another and together we can succeed,” the Local Ordinary of Abuja said, making reference to Pope Francis’ Message  for this year’s World Communications Day (WCD) marked May 29 under the theme, “Listening with the Ear of the Heart”.

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He added, “It is imperative for Christians, Muslims and African traditionalists to listen to the voice of God; keep communication channels among us open, and realize that what unites us is far greater than what divides us.”

Archbishop Kiagama underlined the importance of communicating and listening, which he said are “very essential components of daily life and the precious task of evangelization.”

He said that when there is no correlation between what is being communicated and the person listening, the results are absent.

“Many wonder why there is so much religiosity in our country but little practical positive impact on our private and national lives. The simple reason is because of defective listening,” Archbishop Kaigama said.

He added, “Today, although everyone is communicating, our listening ability seems to be deteriorating very fast. Every day we spend hours and hours chatting or texting, and answering calls, but the truth is we barely listen to the person sitting next to us and engage him or her in a meaningful conversation.”


The Nigerian Catholic Archbishop reiterated the Message of Pope Francis for WCD 2022 saying that the Holy Father invites the people of God to reflect on the value of active listening and its importance in day-to-day relationships.

Archbishop Kaigama expressed regret that the media play a significant role in creating disunity among populations, instead of working towards solidifying peace.

“In our communities, states, and nations, we experience growing disconnect, rivalry, and disunity. Our social and conventional media unfortunately tend to contribute to this,” the 63-year-old Catholic Archbishop said.

He added, “The unity Jesus prayed for is possible only with the love of God in us. It would be edifying if citizens of other countries visit Nigeria and see that we are so united in mind and heart, and exclaim ‘see how these Nigerians love themselves!’ This type of unity can come about if we have the spirit of what the Zulu call ‘Ubuntu’ (I am because you are).”

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.