Catholic Bishops in Nigeria Conclude Plenary Assembly with Appeal for Political Sobriety

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) at the end of their 2022 second Plenary Assembly in Nigeria’s Orlu Diocese. Credit: CBCN

Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) have, in their communiqué at the end of their 2022 second Plenary Assembly, appealed to politicians involved in the 2023 general elections campaigns to foster sobriety.

In their Thursday, September 15 message delivered at the Sacred Heart Pastoral/Retreat Center in Nigeria’s Orlu Diocese, CBCN members said that politics devoid of “bitterness, divisiveness and religious bigotry” would see the West African nation realize “a new dawn”.

“In campaigning and canvassing for votes, we urge politicians to eschew the politics of bitterness, divisiveness and religious bigotry,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria said in their communiqué read out by the President of CBCN, Archbishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji.

In maintaining political sobriety during campaigns, CBCN members said at the end of their September 8 – 16 Plenary Assembly, “we shall indeed cross the threshold into a new dawn in our country.

They described politics as “a noble vocation” and further urged political aspirants in Nigeria “to uphold the values of integrity and decency” during their campaigns.


The Catholic Bishops caution against malpractices, saying, “We strongly condemn as unlawful and sinful all forms of vote selling and buying and advise all politicians and voters to refrain from doing so.”

They made reference to Vatican II document on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, and encouraged the Laity in Nigeria to engage in “political activity” and contribute to the establishment of “moral order” in Africa’s most populous nation.

“We urge our Catholic lay faithful, especially those with talents for the difficult yet noble art of politics or whose talents in this matter can be developed, to prepare themselves for it,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria said in their statement shared with ACI Africa September 15, adding that engaging in politics requires sacrificing “convenience and material interests”.

Addressing themselves to members of the Clergy in the message titled, “The Threshold of a New Dawn in Nigeria”, CBCN members urged Priests to guide the Laity interested in active politics to promote the “dignity of human person.”

“While working to promote political activities and good governance that guarantee the dignity of the human person, justice and equity in society, Priests have the duty to guide the lay faithful,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria said.

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They cautioned members of the Clergy against active politics, saying, “Without prejudice to their rights to exercise their franchise, Priests are not to use the pulpit to promote any particular political party or its candidates.”

CBCN members urged the Nigerian electorate to “to come out en masse” and vote for people with “unassailable integrity” to lead the country out of the current situation. They said, “It is through the right political choices that our current situation can be ameliorated.”

“While it is not our responsibility as religious leaders to dictate to political parties the choices of their presidential, vice presidential and other candidates, we have the duty to advise the citizenry to bear in mind the implications of these choices while electing the next set of leaders,” they said.

The Catholic Bishops added, “We, therefore, renew our call on all our faithful, laity and clergy alike, to come out en masse to vote for people of unassailable integrity, who have the good character, capacity and track record to lead our nation out of the present socio-political and economic doldrums, irrespective of party, religious and ethnic affiliations.”

In their message read out on September 15, CBCN members also called for civic education for “growth in political consciousness” among the citizens of Africa's most populous nation.


“We recognize that such consciousness needs guidance through political education so that all citizens, in general and young people, in particular, will be able to effectively play their part in political affairs,” they said.

Civic education, they said, will enable the “citizens and institutions to work towards responsible political behavior and informed choices.”

“In consonance with the principles of the Social Teaching of the Church, our people should be made aware of the duty to be both good leaders and followers,” Catholic Bishops in Nigeria said, adding that all citizens need to know that they are “actors and not mere spectators” in their country’s political affairs.

They continued, “Only when the people are enlightened to take cognizance of their duties to the nation and their rights in it can they escape the servitude of political manipulation and ignorance in their electoral habits.”

CBCN member commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) “for its innovations, especially in the area of technology, to ensure free, fair and credible elections.”

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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.