Nigerians “cannot afford to be indifferent” in 2023 Election Process: Church Officials

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There is need for Nigerians to actively participate in the processes leading to the 2023 general elections in their country, officials at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) have said. 

In a statement signed by the Secretary General of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN), his assistant and the Executive Secretary of Caritas Nigeria, Fr. Zachariah Nyantiso, Fr. Michael Leke and Fr. Uchechukwu Obodoechina respectively, the CSN officials underscore the need for registering as a voter.

“The 2023 General Elections are around the corner. It calls for the active participation of all citizens in the tedious electoral process. We cannot afford to be indifferent,” they say in the Tuesday, June 21 statement. 

The CSN officials encourage Nigerians who have attained the age of eighteen to register and obtain their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC), saying, “The journey towards building the Nigeria of our dreams begins with the acquisition of our PVCs.”

PVCs are important because they enable citizens “to participate in the democratic process of choosing their political leaders,” they further say, adding that the PVCs empower Nigerians “to promote good governance, the kind that puts the common good ahead of all other interests.”


The Catholic Church officials call on citizens of Africa’s most populous country urge eligible voters to actively participate in the general elections. They say, “Every democracy is driven by the people and requires the active participation of all eligible citizens at the various levels of governance.”

“We must strive to overcome the voter apathy that, over the years, has characterized the process of choosing those who take charge of the affairs of our country at all levels of government,” they add.  

CSN officials laud Priests who have been encouraging the faithful to acquire PVCs, and caution against depriving Christians of their right to worship for lacking PVCs. 

They say, “Utmost care must be taken not to deprive the people of those means that Christ, through the Church, has made available for the nourishment and salvation of their souls. The Church and its ministers must, at all times, promote, respect and defend those rights that are fundamental to the human person, one of such being the right to private and public worship.”

For instance, officials of the administrative headquarters of the CBCN say, the faithful “must not be denied Holy Communion or any of the Church's sacraments on the same ground. Priests who act this way violate the laws of the Church, which clearly define those circumstances under which the faithful may be legitimately deprived of such spiritual goods.”

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They advocate for civic education, and urge religious leaders to “get into relationships” with officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the Local Government Area (LGA) levels with a view to moving registration centers nearer to the people.

In the statement, the CSN officials express concern about Nigeria's heightened insecurity and the continuing lecturer’s strike. 

They regret the fact that “the Nigerian state today seems to be on the brink of collapse.” They explain, “There are hostilities and conflicts of different sizes and magnitudes everywhere. Each new day brings with it several bad news.”

Officials of the administrative headquarters of the Catholic Bishops in Nigeria bemoan the “sporadic attacks of unknown gunmen everywhere in the Southeast, the insurgency in the Northeast with the continued deaths of innocent citizens unabated.”

“Attacks, killings and displacements of persons from their homes in the middle belt region of the country have also continued with impunity,” they say, adding, “The attack on innocent worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo in Ondo state of Nigeria that took place recently has brought yet another dimension to the carnage going on in the country.”


“The same is true of the targeted kidnapping and hounding of citizens, including the Clergy, all over the country,” CSN officials say. 

They lament the spate of killings and carnage in Nigeria that they say “make our roads, farmlands, forests, schools, homes, marketplaces and even places of Worship unsafe.” 

“The rate of avoidable deaths of innocent citizens across the country on a daily basis has made living in Nigeria akin to skating on thin ice,” the Catholic Church officials say. 

While the killings and kidnappings are going on, the Church officials say, food scarcity and inflation are on the increase and “hunger and destitution among the people are evident everywhere.”

The Nigerian government “seems to be overwhelmed” amid protracted challenges, they say, adding, “The political class is deeply engaged in alignments for new political positions in the forthcoming political dispensation. Millions of Naira are being expended on this political process. Meanwhile, the country is currently indebted to the tune of over N41T (over $97b).”

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Apart from insecurity, the Catholic Church officials say Nigerian Universities have been on strike for the past three months, without the government being able to resolve the impasse with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). 

“Teaching and learning in our universities have been impaired, leaving the Nigerian youth without a sense of direction and purpose,” they say. 

They pose, “Is there any wonder there are cases of criminality, violence and unwholesome activities among the youths today?”

“In the light of the foregoing, the Church, as teacher and mother, continues to tow the path of peace and justice; exhorting the government and the state actors to rise to their bounden duties of protecting life and property,” CSN officials say in their June 21 statement.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.